Fleet Town suffered a dramatic exit in the Russell Cotes Cup on Tuesday night
Luckless Fleet Town were denied victory by two last-minute equalisers from AFC Totton on Tuesday night – and then bowed out of the Russell Cotes Cup in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
First, a 92nd-minute leveller from Dan Beckles had handed the Calor Premier Stags a lifeline after Simba Mlambo deservedly put Fleet in front 11 minutes from time.
Then in the dying seconds of extra time, Sam House popped up with another last-gasp equaliser to force the spot-kick shoot-out, which Totton won 5-4.
Still, however, it was a performance and result to give Fleet player/boss Craig Davis some much-needed encouragement, after their 2-0 home defeat by Bishop’s Cleeve on Saturday - coupled with a win for Guildford City against the same opposition on Tuesday night - sent the Blues to the bottom of the Division One South & West table.
“I was very proud of the way our side played,” Davis said after the thrilling cup tie.
“It’s always tough against a higher league side, but we matched them and controlled the game for long periods.
“Obviously we’re hugely disappointed with the result, but it’ll be a big confidence boost going into the league game at Wimborne on Saturday.”
Davis looked like sending Fleet into the third round with a 118th-minute penalty after Mlambo had scored his second in cancelling out House's effort for 2-1.
Yet despite Davis, Josh Gregory, Dan Rousell and Mlambo all hitting the net with their penalties, Fleet were denied after Craig Stanley missed Fleet’s final kick and Totton made no mistake.
Davis will again be without suspended pair Sam Wilson and skipper Ben White for the trip to Wimborne but left-back Aaron Blaxall returns from his ban.
Wilson and White, however, return for the trip to Clevedon Town on Monday night.
Fleet (vs Bishops Cleeve): Pryce, Maylen, Charlick, Rumbold, Gator, Davis, Carter (Carr 70), O’Reilly, White (Stanley, 75), Mlambo, Gregory, (Simms 66). Subs: Bufton, Scott.