PHOENIX beat Ayton Athletic 3-2 in a closely contested League Cup semi-final at Garth End Road.
The hosts started brightly but found space difficult to come by with some good pressure coming from the Phoenix midfielders. Athletic went ahead following a flowing move which was started by Cameron Lake in the home defence.
Lake played the ball through for Joe Dunnett who in turn found Macauley Lacey in space deep in the Phoenix half, Lacey slotted the ball through for Matthew Louth who rounded the Phoenix keeper and finished from a tight angle.
Athletic’s lead was short-lived and Phoenix came to life with two goals before the break. Joe White finishing from close-range and Ellis Howley slotting home after a defensive mix-up.
The second half saw Athletic step up the pressure but Phoenix remained dominant in defence.
Phoenix were always dangerous on the break and a shot from Phoenix’s Liam Mancrief came back of the cross bar and Benny Davies nipped in to extend the Phoenix lead.
Athletic rallied again and reduced the deficit with a shot on the turn from Jacob Jackson finding the top corner.
With 10 minutes remaining Athletic looked to have drawn level, a curling cross-shot from Joe Dunnett appeared to have crossed the line but the Phoenix keeper clawed the ball away, Louth followed up and appeared to have bundled the ball in but the referee and assistant waved play on. Shortly after, keeper Corey Towell came to Ayton’s rescue with a last-gasp clearance.
In the dying seconds chances came for both Louth and Athletic’s Lewis East, but both were unable to capitalise.
Phoenix will face Scholes Park Raiders in the final at Queensgate, after the Raiders won 4-3 in another thrilling semi against Fishburn Park.
The Whitby-based side opened the scoring early on in this cup-tie, but a Joe Ferrie strike from the edge of their penalty box levelled the scores.
Tyler Whiteman’s tap-in made it 2-1, but Fishburn came back again with two goals to charge into a 3-2 lead.
Raiders refused to submit and they brought the scores level once again with a Jack Heelas penalty.
With the game seeming to be heading for extra-time, Ferrie struck his second of the game, a last-minute penalty, to secure their spot in the cup final.
Ferrie also earned the man-of-the-match award for a commanding display against a very strong Fishburn Park outfit.