Paget Rangers crashed out of the Walsall Senior Cup at the first attempt despite a valiant effort against higher division Sporting Khalsa.
Paget more than held their own in the opening exchanges with both Dempster and Mills spurning chances to give the Bears the lead. Paget managed to keep Khalsa at bay until the 29th minute when a killer through ball found Josh Thomas in acres of space who had the time and composure to slot the ball passed Conal Dowling and to give the visitors a well worked lead. Khalsa began to dominate the remainder of the first half and felt aggrieved when appealing for a penalty for a foul by Dowling however their claims were waived away as the referee’s assistant had already flagged for an offside.
In the second half Paget became more adventurous in the search of an equaliser and ultimately paid the price in the 59th minute to go two goals down as Liam Armstrong doubled Sporting Khalsa’s lead. And it seemed game over in the 68th minute when Jay Holdcroft scored Khalsa’s third to put the game beyond the Bears.
Paget didnt give up however and Captain Craig Evans pulled a goal back for the Bears with a stunning drive from the edge of the box over the Khalsa keeper to give Paget a lifeline. This goal gave Paget renewed belief and they poured men forward, Nathan Corry was unlucky to fluff a chance and then in the 85th minute it was 3-2 as substitute John Dodd poked the ball home. Still Paget attacked and a through ball from Mark Williams was left by Ross Dempster for Kory Burke who ran from deep only to see the linesman flag Paget offside, with the winger bearing down and through on goal. Khalsa were now hanging on and showed good game management to close out the remaining injury time leaving Paget wondering what if, and Khalsa looking forward to a trip to Bilston Town in the 2nd Round.