BENJI Buchel played a starring role as Cherries last night claimed a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Eastleigh to book their place in the semi-finals of the Hampshire Senior Cup.
Goalkeeper Buchel saved no fewer than three spot-kicks – including one in the closing stages of normal time – as Cherries dumped out the holders at New Milton’s Fawcett’s Field.
The Liechtenstein international helped Cherries force the tie into extra-time when he made a stunning stop to keep out Corey King’s penalty in the 89th minute.
Eastleigh, who had taken a 60th-minute lead through Mark Hughes, were then immediately reduced to 10 men when debutant Charlie Basilone was sent off for a reckless tackle on Anthony Harris.
Brandon Goodship, the hat-trick hero of Cherries’ third round triumph over Fleet Town, had earlier levelled the see-saw contest with just seven minutes remaining.
A 25-yard wonder goal from King restored the Conference South outfit’s lead five minutes into extra-time before Cherries equalised with virtually the last kick.
Eastleigh failed to deal with Lorenzo Davids’s corner in the final seconds and Jamal Bajandouh popped up to score a last-gasp leveller to set up the shootout.
Joe Partington, Aristide Bassele, Josh Wakefield and Davids all netted their respective spot-kicks, as did Eastleigh trio Hughes, Adam Everitt and Dale Binns.
But Buchel eventually won the day for Cherries when he kept out efforts from Andy Forbes and opposite number Jack Dovey to seal a 4-3 triumph.
On the downside for Cherries, winger Donal McDermott limped off just 15 minutes in after injuring his ankle and left the ground wearing an air-cast boot.
Cherries were also forced into a late starting line-up reshuffle after Harrison Gilkes had been taken ill during the warm-up with goal hero Goodship stepping up from the bench.
AFC Totton’s 3-1 win over Gosport Borough saw them join Cherries in the semi-final draw, while the quarter-final ties between Hamble and Alresford and Havant & Waterlooville and Sholing were both postponed.
Cherries: Buchel, West, Partington, Turner, Kaye, Davids, Wakefield, Carmichael (Harris, h-t), McDermott (Bajandouh, 15), Bassele, Goodship (Makoni, 89).