IT took eight goals in normal time and 17 penalties to separate Halebank and Pilkington in this thriller at Ruskin Drive.

The game started well for Pilks when they went ahead after three minutes as Frazer played in newcomer Sean Boyle who finished very cooly for his first of the day.

Brad Smailes had the ball in the net again for Pilks on 25 mins only for the referee to rule it offside. Smailes should have again extended the lead a few minutes later but he blazed over the bar from six yards out.

Pilks injury woes continued this week with six regular defenders and a goalkeeper currently unavailable and as Halebank settled into their game, the frailties began to show. Three good saves from young keeper Dan Finney kept them at bay but they finally got the equaliser 10 minutes from the half.

Pilks started the second half much the same as the first when, two minutes in, Boyle finished calmly after a drive and cut back from Sephton.

Within seven minutes though Halebank were ahead. Firstly, Finney spilled a free kick and then a simple through ball was converted on 54 minutes.

This was now turning into a thriller as it swung one way and the other. Pilks equalised on 63 minutes when Boyle completed his hat-trick with a lob over the keeper from wide.

But again this was shortlived for Pilks as they failed to deal with another simple through ball and Halebank took the lead again.

As Pilks pressed for an equaliser it looked like they were heading out of the Cup until Captain Graham Boylan popped up with a header deep in injury time to send the game to penalties.

The shootout was equally tense with the goalkeepers unable to get near sixteen penalties until Smailes missed the target to send Pilks out of the cup.

Whilst performance was much improved from last week’s disaster at Mersey Valley, Pilks defensive woes must be a concern and they cant keep relying on their goal-scoring power to keep teams at bay