Cup thriller in the Top End

Darwin Rovers scored a dramatic 7-6 penalty shoot-out victory over Darwin Olympic in the Top End final of the Westfield FFA Cup.

The victory means the fairytale continues for Rovers as they qualify for the NT Preliminary Round decider in only their first season in the NorZone Premier League top flight.

In a pulsating Cup tie, Rovers and Darwin Olympic, last year’s NT Round of 32 entrant, could not be separated after 120 minutes with scores locked 4-4.

It would come down to penalties. Young Olympic midfielder Dane Turner missed his team’s first penalty attempt before Warren Barry missed Rovers’ third penalty to again balance the ledger.

However, aiming to keep the shootout alive, Jack Steers missed his attempt to give Rovers victory.

Rovers will now meet Alice Springs side Scorpions at the Darwin Football Stadium on Saturday June 18 to determine who will qualify for the Round of 32.

A Robert Davies goal 15 minutes from time was enough for Scorpions to claim the Southern Zone final over arch rivals Celtic in the Red Centre.

But it was in the Top End that Darwin Olympic and Shamrock Rovers produced a Cup classic.

No one in the 600-strong crowd could have expected such a dramatic finale after Olympic led 2-0 with six minutes of normal time remaining.

A superb free kick from dead-ball specialist Daniel Barlow early in the second half followed by a goal from Michael Tsounias in the 74th minute put Olympic in a seemingly unbeatable position.

But Marshall struck three times in 11 minutes in the closing stages of normal time and early in the first period of extra time to put Rovers ahead.

However there were to be more twists and turns as six minutes into the second period of extra time Tsounias struck again to level the scores at 3-3.

A penalty by midfielder Warren Barry then put Rovers ahead before Olympic defender Steers bobbed up to head home and send the match to a penalty shoot-out.