HARRY Roberts’ 83rd minute goal saw TL Darby reserves through to the Burton & District Sunday League Division Three Cup final against a battling Winshill Parish at a freezing cold Scropton Road.
Joe Lord had scored to give the hosts the lead, with Aaron Jackson pulling one back just before half-time for the visitors and almost taking the game to extra-time.
Visiting keeper Ross Austin was soon in action with a comfortable save from Richard Taylor, while at the other end a searching cross whipped in by Jonny Bridget was eventually scrambled clear by the hosts.
Then Bridget sent Mitch Baker clear and only a well-timed sliding tackle from Lord denied the busy midfielder.
Then a wicked free kick swung in by Jackson was headed clear by Seb Kalinowski.
TL Darby responded well and had the first real chance on 13 minutes when Lord picked out Kalinowski with a free kick.
The defender headed the ball back across the six-yard box to Sam Parr, who pulled his shot wide.
Roberts then sent Taylor one-on-one with Austin, but his effort was never going to beat the keeper.
Moments later, Taylor went down under a challenge from Austin but appeals for a penalty cut no ice with referee Luke Pelech.
Austin’s counterpart, Tim Warner, then did very well to race out of his area to deny the pacy Danny Beesla.
The striker should have done much better when George Freeman picked him out at the far post but he miskicked and a decent chance was lost.
A minute later, the hosts got their noses in front.
A good spell of possession ended with Taylor holding the ball up before laying it off to Lord, who smashed it into the bottom corner.
The young Winshill side fought back, with Beesla bursting clear only to be foiled by a perfectly timed tackle from Jack Brooks.
It was end-to-end now, with Roberts looping a header just over, Kalinowski’s header beating Austin only for Ryan James to clear off the line, and Austin claiming a couple of useful crosses.
Just before the break, James earned a corner down the left and took it himself.
Jackson got up well to power the equaliser past an irate Warner, who claimed he was obstructed as the ball flew in.
Again Mr Pelech was unmoved.
On the restart, the hosts had the better of the early exchanges, with a slick move seeing Lord and Taylor combine to send Roberts clear. The striker lifted the ball over the advancing Austin and could hardly believe it when Reece Lawrence raced back to hook it off the line.
On 65 minutes, Beesla was scythed down in midfield by Oran Lovelock.
Referee Pelech played the advantage, with James bursting clear only to blaze over before Lovelock was rightly booked for his tackle.
Back came TL Darby, with Kalinowski heading over from a Lord free kick.
A poor goal kick from Austin almost proved expensive when it went straight to Roberts, who played in Taylor, but although his chip beat Austin it drifted wide.
Then a Taylor cross-shot reached Matt Booth unmarked at the far post, but the substitute stumbled and a gilt-edged chance was lost.
Taylor then collected a raking pass from Beddow, only to fire over before Lovelock hit the striker, but again he dragged his shot wide.
The winning goal came on 83 minutes.
Booth fed Taylor down the left and the busy striker hit a low cross to the near post and Roberts, timing his run perfectly, side-footed past Austin.
The visitors had a late chance but Jackson’s free kick hit the wall and in injury time Beddow robbed Dan Tomlinson and surged clear before unselfishly setting up Taylor, but once again the TL Darby striker drove over.
GOALS: Lord 23, Roberts 83 (TL Darby); Jackson 42 (Winshill).
TL DARBY RESERVES: Warner, Towle, Lovelock, Kalinowski, Brooks, Beddow, Mobley (Booth 54), Parr (Topliss 47), Lord, Taylor, Roberts. Sub not used: Naylor.
WINSHILL PARISH: Austin, Jackson (Smith 91), Thomas, Tomlinson, Bridget, Richardson, Freeman, James, Baker, Beesla, Lawrence (Ross 83). Sub not used: Worth.
STAR MAN: Joe Lord (TL Darby) - excellent display by midfield powerhouse.
REFEREE: Luke Pelech (Rolleston).