18-year-old James Tait scored a brace for Winscombe FC to take League Two leaders Imperial to penalties in the Somerset League Two/Three cup semi-final.

Tait scored once from open play and once from a tight-angled, brilliantly placed freekick to bring his side back into the match twice, but it was not to be as Winscombe went on to lose 4-3 on penalties to the Bristol side.

His first came just before half time, he drew a foul outside the opposition area at an acute angle to the goal and proceeded to fire it past the keeper to put his team level at the break.

With his team 2-1 down, Tait was at the rescue again in the 82nd minute as he chased a through ball down and delicately lobbed the Imperial keeper, tapping the ball over the line before it could roll to a stop and sparking hysteria at the Recreation Ground.

With no extra time in the cup, it was straight to penalties and despite their great performance Winscombe couldn’t hold their nerve as they lost 4-3 in the shoot-out, missing their third and fifth attempts, and missing the chance to make their first cup final appearance since 2015.

Winscombe, who are currently in fifth position in Division three, went into the match sitting 20 places below current League Two leaders Imperial in the county football pyramid but they never looked out of their depth.

Imperial started off the stronger side, their quality and experience showed as they gained territorial advantage early on, but the Winscombe defence stayed strong.

It was only through slightly fortuitous fashion that the Bristol based team opened the scoring, with the Winscombe back line failing to clear the ball and giving up an easy finish to Imperial’s striker.

Imperials second came from a corner on the hour, a leaping header put the ball past Winscombe keeper Callum Murray, but it would be cancelled out by Tait’s second of the night.

The performance was one to be proud of for Winscombe, but their wait for some knockout cup silverware will have to go on a little longer.

They now face two home league games in a row, against Nailsea United Reserves on Tuesday and Sporting Weston Firsts on the 30th.