PERHAPS the League Cup should be sponsored by Smith and Wesson as King’s Lynn won their third shoot-out in four ties courtesy of three penalty saves by Chuck Martini.
Remarkably, all four of Linnets’ League Cup games have gone to extra time. Their reward is a semi-final trip to Burton Albion on March 14.
The latest instalment of the Gunfight at the OK Corral in wild West Norfolk even had a saloon bar brawl, as Linnets captain Dave Robinson and the Lambs’ Brian
Gray were sent off for fighting on 73 minutes.
But Lynn’s own Clint Eastwood, Martini, was again the hero by diving low to his right three times to deny Tamworth.
“It was a great cup tie,” said Lynn boss Gary Mills. “It is never easy saving or scoring penalties but I’m delighted with Chuck’s saves. We just reminded him
that’s what we’re paying him for.”
The game could have gone either way, but Nick Colley’s extra time goal was cancelled out by Lyndon Rowland’s second strike in two games.
In the shoot-out, Tamworth were almost dead and buried at 3-1 down, but Craig Clark and Tony Spearing missed their spot-kicks.
However, in sudden death, Martini saved again from Tim Steele and Rowland stepped up to blast one down the middle and put Lynn in the semi-final.
“We were just keeping people on their toes,” added Mills.
A couple of howlers by Glen Fuff nearly gave Tamworth an early lead.
First Martini had to react quickly to come out and save with his feet after a poor back pass, then Tamworth penalty appeals were turned down as the defender seemed to foul Rob Mutchell.
On the stroke of half-time, Spearing crossed, Robinson headed intelligently across goal and Mark Turner’s volley was acrobatically tipped over by Darren Acton.
After the referee was pole-axed following a collision with Fuff, on the hour Robinson beat the offside trap but blazed over.
The Lynn skipper then reacted badly to a challenge by Richard Lavery and Robinson and Gray appeared to exchange blows to warrant an early bath.
In the first three minutes of extra time, Linnets forced four corners, the last of which Turner had a close range effort brilliantly blocked by Acton’s legs.
But The Lambs hit back as a good cut back from the left by Mutchell was turned home from six yards by Colley.
However, Linnets dramatically snatched the equaliser on the stroke of the break when Mills took a quick throw-in, one-twoed with Spearing and crossed. Simon Dakin flicked on and Rowland had a simple nod-in from two yards.
Colley missed from point-blank range and, in the dying seconds, Fuff nearly won it as his looping header shaved the bar.
Lynn: Martini, Dakin, Spearing, Fuff, Clark, Turner, Nwadike, Marsden, Robinson, Rowland, Puttnam (Gibson 33). Subs not used: Bush, Anderson.
Tamworth: Acton, Warner, Mutchell, Colley, Howard, Hatton, Foy, Lavery (Steele 119), Hatton, Cotter (Smith 76), Gray. Sub not used (Wolsey).