HARWICH and Parkeston were beaten 5-3 on penalties at Long Melford in the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup, writes TERRY FRANCIS.

The Shrimpers started the match with new signing Danny Garrad leading their attack and trying his luck with three snap shots at the Long Melford goal.

Harwich were fielding a rearranged line-up in midfield and Long Melford took advantage to put pressure on the visitors' rear guard. The hosts went ahead after 27 minutes when a defensive mistake forced Shrimpers goalkeeper Brad Cook to race out from goal and when he was beaten, Ryan Gibbs netted.

Early in the the second half, a second defensive slip could have seen Harwich concede again but this time Cook pulled off an excellent one-on-one save at the expense of a corner.

With 15 minutes of the half gone, the Harwich management duo decided to make a bold move by bringing on three of their substitutes.

The move fired the Shrimpers up and they began to have the better of the exchanges and it was now the Long Melford supporters' turn to be on edge.

With the final countdown approaching, Harwich were determined to give everything that they had left and mounted their best move of the match.

Alfie Canning did well to lay the ball off neatly to fellow substitute Leo Carty, who set the travelling Shrimpers supporters alight with the equaliser.

The match went straight to penalties with Long Melford taking the first spot-kick.

Successful penalties from Beecham, Canning and Carty saw the Shrimpers level at 3-3 in the shoot-out.

Long Melford's fourth attempt struck the crossbar and came down, with the assistant referee ruling that it had crossed the goalline.

Jack Wood missed Harwich's fourth kick and Long Melford completed five well-taken kicks that had given Cook no chance to book their place in the quarter-finals.