Yeovil Town went out of the Capital One Cup to Birmingham City on penalties after the most incredible match ever seen at Huish Park.
The Glovers lost 3-2 on penalties after the game ended 2-2 in normal time and 3-3 after extra time. But the match was marred by a controversial 90th minute Byron Webster equaliser after the Blues thought they would see the ball returned to them after Dan Burn received treatment for an injury.
The goal took the game into extra time and after Luke Ayling had scored his first ever Yeovil goal with a 20 yard screamer, Yeovil manager Gary Johnson then allowed Birmingham to walk in a goal in a move reminiscent of the "ghost goal" he let Plymouth Argyle score in identical circumstances in 2004.
There was no further scoring and in the shootout Sam Hoskins, Ed Upson and Jamie McAllister all missed giving Tom Adeyemi the chance to seal the win by scoring the last spot kick.
It was a sad end for Yeovil who had deserved more than the heartbreak ending they got.Scoring three times against a side such as Birmingham should be enough to win a tie but two poorly defended goals cost Johnson’s men again tonight.
Yeovil boss Gary Johnson gave striker Kieffer Moore his full debut alongside James Hayter up front and both Jamie McAllister and Joel Grant also came into the starting lineup. Michael N’Goo, Alan Tate, Kevin Dawson and Joe Ralls all dropped to the bench.
Way back at 7.45pm at kickoff, there was no sign of the exhilarating drama to follow. The Blues started the better and Matt Green flicked a header just wide. For Yeovil, Grant was causing the Birmingham defence problems with his pace and trickery.
However it was the visitors who took the lead on nineteen minutes. A corner was swung in from the right and Kyle Bartley rose to head home powerfully.
he lead only lasted two minutes though. James Hayter was brought down on the angle of the penalty box and Ed Upson stepped up to curl a sublime finish into the top corner.
Lee Novak, Andrew Shinnie and Bartley all went close before, as on Saturday, Yeovil were undone conceding a shoddy goal just before half time. A ball in from the right got a touch off a defender which seemed to throw everyone except Shinnie who completed a cool finish into the corner.
In the second half Hayter missed a golden opportunity to equalise when he headed straight at keeper Colin Doyle before firing the rebound over the bar.
The sides exchanged chances with McAllister’s free kick not troubling Doyle and Luke Ayling’s downward header going close for the hosts. Wayne Hennessy, Yeovil’s gloveman, saved with his legs from Green then blocked a Shinnie effort.
Then came the moment that will be talked about for years. Dan Burn, Yeovil’s former loan star, went down injured so keeper Colin Doyle kicked the ball out for treatment.
With the suspicion in the air that it was timewasting, the throwin at the restart fell to Byron Webster who then hit an absolute missile back into the net for the controversial leveller. The incident, to make it 2-2, incensed both the Birmingham players and management with some unsavoury scenes in and around the Yeovil dugout as tempers flared.
After the bedlam had died down, nine minutes of stoppage time went past with the Birmingham players obviously needled and diving into challenges.
Hoskins shot forced a save from Doyle and Upson missed the followup header before Luke Ayling, without a goal in 145 first team games, cut inside onto his left foot and let fly with a thunderbolt that went in off the crossbar; astonishing scenes as the popular full back ran the length of the pitch in celebration.
Then Johnson, mindful of what had happened previously, allowed Lee Novak to walk the ball into the net in a reminder of the Steve Crawford goal from nine years ago this week which saw Plymouth level in that League Cup tie.
Hennessey saved from Chris Burke and Joel Grant headed wide in extra time but Novak spurned the clearest chance to win when he chipped Hennessey but couldn’t direct his shot into the corner of the net.
As the game reached penalties, Sam Hoskins missed the first one for Yeovil with Chris Burke netting for Blues. Dan Seaborne smashed his penalty home off the bar before Neil Eardley blasted his penalty miles over the crossbar.
Ed Upson’s penalty was saved by Doyle followed by Hennessey saving from Scott Allan. Jamie McAllister put his spot kick over the bar too while Darren Ambrose and Kevin Dawson put both their spot kicks down the middle.
It fell to Tom Adeyemi to exorcie his playoff final defeat to Yeovil while at Brentford last season to seal the win and he did so, but only just, his penalty pushed on to the crossbar by Hennessey but going in off the keeper in a cruel late twist.
Late heartache for the Glovers at the end of an extraordinary night of drama at Huish Park.