NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Pope’s penalty shoot-out heroics seals Soham Town Rangers Velocity Cup progress

Soham Town Rangers celebrate Gary Cohen finding the net in their 2-2 draw with Canvey Island. Photo:

Soham Town Rangers celebrate Gary Cohen finding the net in their 2-2 draw with Canvey Island. Photo: ANDY BURFORD - Credit: Archant

Local goalkeeper Nick Pope may have grabbed all the headlines in recent weeks – but Soham Town Rangers have his brother to thank for their cup success this week.

The Burnley stopper’s sibling Josh pulled off an excellent save in a penalty shoot-out with Witham Town last night to book Soham’s spot in the next round of the Velocity Trophy.

Neither side could find the net during normal time but former Mildenhall Town ‘keeper Pope turned on the style to help his side triumph 9-8 from the spot.

Soham boss Robbie Mason will be pleased to have secured the win having watched his side throw away a valuable three points in the Bostik North Division on Saturday afternoon.

The Greens surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with ten-man Canvey Island at Julius Martin Lane.

Player-manager Mason took his place in the starting line-up for the first time this season, partnering Gary Cohen up front, and it was the former Watford man who gave the Greens the lead in the first half with a well-placed header.

Soham went into the break after an end-to-end 45 minutes a goal to the good, and took just 15 minutes to double their advantage in the second period thanks to Matt Allan’s looping strike.

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Canvey were then reduced to 10 men after Henry Newcombe was dismissed for a head butt on Callum Russell during Soham’s celebrations – but that appeared to galvanize the visitors who reduced the deficit after 76 minutes through Steve Sheehan’s header.

The Essex side’s unlikely comeback was completed with five minutes to play when George Sykes followed up to convert a George Craddock strike that Pope had parried.

Soham are now without a league win since September 9 – and face another tough league test this weekend.

They travel to a Haringey Borough side who are flying high in second place having not experienced defeat so far this term.

The London outfit have proved to be a thorn in Soham’s side in recent seasons, beating them 3-1 and 6-0 last season. The Greens’ last victory over them came in December 2015.