Newcastle Blue Star suffered late heartbreak as they were knocked out of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup – losing 5-4 on penalties to FC Hartlepool.
Goals from Dan Lanning and Nelson Ogbewe were denied by a last-minute equaliser – which sent the game to penalties, with Michael Richardson’s missed spot-kick handing FC Hartlepool the victory.
Blue Star took the trip down the A19 looking to right the wrongs of their last meeting with FC Hartlepool, having let victory slip out of their hands in a dramatic 3-3 draw, earlier this month. Since that fixture, FC Hartlepool have gone on to two of their next three fixtures – including an impressive 5-0 win over Horden CW.
‘The Star’ have been guilty of starting slowly in recent weeks, but that would not be the case this time. Taking the lead after just two minutes through Lanning – with the youngster nestling home after a smart cross by Phil Bright.
Following the opener, the game started to settle down and Hartlepool started to grow into the fixture - grabbing themselves an equaliser in the 23rd minute. Their number 11 would be the player to get them level, tapping home from close range after a goal-line scramble.
‘The Star’ would push for a second before the break with Lee Mason coming inches away from scoring in the 41st minute. Blue Star though would soon get the goal they desired – with Ogbewe rifling home the ball in the 43rd minute, to give his side the lead.
Ogbewe’s late goal meant Blue Star headed into the half-time break with a slender 2-1 lead.
Brian Smith’s side started the second half looking to stretch their lead, creating several chances but ultimately being denied by a string of fantastic saves from the Hartlepool keeper.
More chances would fall the way of Blue Star, with debutant Matty Telfer nearly grabbing himself a debut day goal – only to be denied by yet another great save from the Hartlepool shot-stopper, in the 83rd minute.
As the clock ticked down, it seemed as if the game would peter out for a Blue Star win, but the referee would have other ideas, awarding a last-minute penalty to Hartlepool after their forward was brought down in the box.
Their number nine would step up the spot and calmly slot the ball into the bottom left corner – sending the tie to penalties.
Each side would convert their first three penalties and Blue Star would have the chance to go 4-3 in front – but Richardson would see his penalty expertly saved.
Despite Ben Harmison keeping Blue Star in the tie with a calm penalty, Hartlepool would ultimately take advantage of Richardson’s missed spot kick and go on to win 5-4 on penalties, with their number four sending his team into the next round, rifling the ball into the top right corner.