SPORTING Knavesmire won a tense penalty shoot-out to preserve their York & District Minster Engineering League premier division status.

The league’s first-ever relegation/promotion play-off contest was decided on spot kicks after the Huntington-hosted match had finished 1-1 with Niall Smallwood’s opening goal for first division hopefuls Rawcliffe cancelled out by a Danny Owers equaliser.

Rawcliffe dominated the opening 45 minutes of the match and deservedly took the lead mid-way through the first period when Smallwood fired home a low drive from just inside the edge of the box.

The sides went in level at the break, though, following some defensive confusion in the Rawcliffe ranks that resulted in keeper Scott Pallister racing out of his area only to be lobbed by Owers.

Knavesmire were much better at the start of the second period but, as is often the case, the dismissal of a Rawcliffe defender, around the hour mark, suddenly saw the ten-man side find new momentum.

Chances came and went but Rawcliffe looked the more likely side towards the end of the game after striking the bar twice.

Neither team could find the net however and the game moved to a shoot-out.

A good save from Pallister gave his team the chance to win the game, but the keeper was unfortunate as he stepped up to take his own spot kick, slipping to send the ball wide in the process.

Knavesmire then despatched their first attempt at sudden death and the following Rawcliffe penalty cannoned back off the bar, granting Knavesmire another campaign of top-flight football.

After putting out Wigginton Grasshoppers in the previous round, meanwhile, newly-promoted Easingwold Town showed it was no fluke by defeating Dunnington 3-1 in league’s Senior Cup semi-final to set up a showdown with premier division champions Old Malton St Mary's tomorrow night at New Earswick, kick-off 6.45pm.

Alex Fenwick, Andrew Metcalfe and Joe Crosby fired Town to success.

St Mary's edged a close game with Copmanthorpe, eventually winning 2-1 thanks to Marcus Godsell’s brace.

Ben Jones struck for Cop, who missed a penalty on the night to compound their misery.

The Junior Cup final will take place tonight at Huntington Sports & Social Club (kick-off 6.45pm) and will be between all-conquering Malt Shovel and their division two runners-up Stamford Bridge.

Malt Shovel defeated Pollington 2-0, while Stamford Bridge advanced with a 2-1 victory over Rufforth United.

In the Reserve Cup semi-finals, Andre Phillips, Ryan Boyd and Stephen Kerr all netted to give Old Malton St Mary’s victory at rivals Malton & Norton, with Jamie Allen replying for the home side in their 3-1 loss.

Dringhouses edged past Church Fenton on penalties following a 2-2 draw.