Redditch Borough 1, Paget Rangers 2.

REDDITCH Borough had their dream of a cup double dashed by a last-gasp strike from Midland League Division Two’s most lethal predator.

With a pulsating Les James Challenge Cup final heading for extra-time, Paget’s Dan Carter ghosted in to guide a header inside keeper Ryan Young’s right-hand post to break Borough hearts at the Bescot Stadium, Walsall.

Billy Garvey had given Redditch a seventh-minute lead with a perfectly-executed far-post strike from Liam Fullerton’s fierce centre and Julian Workman’s men were on top for most of the first half.

Carter drove Billy Fagg’s cutback beyond Young at the other end but star performer Garrath Hodgetts flicked a seemingly-certain leveller off the line after 14 minutes and Borough soon upped the ante.

Garvey cut inside from the left and sent a swinging shot narrowly wide of the far post before having a second correctly ruled out for offside with 28 minutes on the clock.

The Borough livewire had his head in his hands four minutes later, hitting the outside of the post from close range after Fullerton had provided more tantalising service from the right.

Rangers improved after the interval and the leveller arrived within six minutes of play resuming.

A controversially-awarded free-kick was lofted in by Dean Morris and looped in over the under-pressure Young with the stopper appealing in vain that he had been bumped to the ground.

The equaliser put a spring in Paget’s step but Borough almost landed a sucker punch when skipper Jamie Hatfield’s downward header from a corner had to be hacked off the line by Fagg.

Hodgetts, a tower of strength at the back for Redditch, succumbed to injury with 20 minutes to go and along with the introduction of Myles Phipps on the right for Paget, that had a decisive bearing on the momentum late on.

Phipps’s driven centre found Ross Dempster at the far post but he inexplicably smashed over the angle of post and bar having had the time to take a touch and pick his spot.

Captain Craig Evans headed over from a corner as Paget kept probing but Borough again went close when clever footwork from Matt Fearon set up Ollie Saunders whose shot trickled agonisingly beyond an unguarded far post.

Dempster volleyed over from another Phipps break as the clock ticked down, while Garvey let rip with a ferocious 15-yard effort that whistled just past the far post at the other end.

But there was to be one more chance and that man Carter was never likely to pass it up. Fearon dallied and gave away possession on the halfway line with a quick ball from deep dropping perfectly for the Rangers marksman to nod in and settle matters with his 44th goal of a prolific campaign.

Borough: Young, English, Sowe, Bowles (Hay, h-t), Hatfield, Hodgetts (Adelekan, 69), Malins, Fullerton, Fearon, Saunders (Westwood, 83), Garvey. Unused subs: Hall, Bruce.