STRATFORD Town held their nerve in a penalty shoot-out to dump Coventry City out of the Birmingham Senior Cup for the third time in four seasons.
Wednesday night’s first-round clash at the Arden Garages Stadium ended goalless but Town prevailed 3-1 on penalties after keeper Richard Walton saved two spot-kicks.
Walton, on his Town debut, kept out efforts from Josh Eccles and Lewis Green while young Sky Blues skipper Jak Hickman and Stratford’s Ross Oulton both missed the target .
Town’s scorers were Claudio Dias and substitutes Jazz Luckie and Josh Cooke.
Town made nine changes to the side which had drawn 2-2 at Rushall Olympic on Saturday.
Only skipper Jordan Williams and Chris Cox remained in the starting XI which also included a debut for Guillaume Taty. The 21-year-old French defender has played for French sides A-F-Garenne-Colombes and CS Bretigny and also had a spell with Swedish outfit Angeback BK.
Despite plenty of endeavour, chances were scarce and Town’s Jordan Patrick and Jarrell Hylton could not take advantage of promising openings. Hylton tested Sky Blues keeper Corey Addai from 20 yards but Walton had to dive to deny Chris Camwell’s curling free-kick early in the second half.
Stratford, though, ended the stronger as Addai saved from James Hancocks, who also fired just wide, but they found the finishing touch in the penalty contest.
On Saturday, Mikey Taylor and Lewis Wilson were on target as Town made it three games unbeaten in Southern Premier Central with a 2-2 draw at Rushall Olympic.
Taylor fired Stratford in front inside two minutes after beating the offside trap to slot home from Will Grocott’s pass for his sixth goal of the season.
The lead lasted just six minutes, however, as Danny Waldron nodded home an Ash Sammons corner.
A bright start to the second half from Town was rewarded with a second goal on 47 minutes as Wilson headed home from close range when Jordan Williams nodded Grocott’s free-kick back into the danger area.
Sammons levelled matters on 72 minutes when his 25-yarder trickled over the line past keeper Ross Etheridge.
Stratford now have a fixture-free weekend as scheduled opponents Coalville Town are involved in the FA Cup. Stratford return to action a week on Saturday with a trip to King’s Lynn Town.