A dramatic Lancashire Senior Cup semi final saw Rovers progress with a penalty shoot-out victory over Accrington Stanley at Brockhall.

Lewis Thompson scored an equaliser for Rovers in added time to send the game to spot-kick after goals from Offrande Zanzala and Liam Nolan looked to have seen the Reds to victory.

Scott Brown and Luke Armstrong hit the bar in the shoot-out, with Liam Nolan denied by Charlie Albinson, as successful attempts from John Buckley, Jack Vale and Ben Paton were enough to see Rovers through.

Dan Butterworth, who played a key role in the equaliser, had opened the scoring for Rovers in the first half of a competitive game in which Stanley fielded a number of first team players.

Rovers pressed hard for an equaliser in the second half, as Joe Rankin-Costello hit the bar, but Stanley looked to have held on until wing-back Thompson scored.

Butterworth continued his fine form with a solo goal in the 16th minute. It came as Rovers countered from a Stanley corner, as the attacker carried the ball all of 60 yards before arrowing a shot in to the bottom corner.

Within two minutes though, Stanley levelled. As Rovers appealed for offside, Zanzala controlled a lofted ball from Liam Gibson to lift over the advancing Charlie Albinson to equalise.

Balls over the top were proving to be Stanley’s undoing, as Jack Vale twice fired when played in beyond the Reds defence.

Rankin-Costello would then draw a smart stop from Dimitar Evtimov, the ‘keeper getting down quickly to his near post to keep out his effort after neat play worked the ball in to the path of the wing-back.

Both sides matched up with a back three, but Stanley opted for two out and out strikers who helped pin Rovers back, while the lively Butterworth continued to pose problems for the Reds.

It was one of Stanley’s front two, Luke Armstrong, who was next to go close, his snap-shot just drifting wide of the right-hand post.

With three central defenders, and some size in attack, Stanley looked threatening from set pieces, and it was from a right wing corner they took the lead seconds before the break. Liam Nolan pulled off his marker to meet an Erico Sousa corner and plant a header beyond Albinson.

Rovers almost mounted an immediate response, but after keeping the ball alive in the box, Vale volleyed over the top in the final act of the first half.

Stanley marshalled their way through the opening 20 minutes of the second half without too much trouble, with Evtimov saving easily from Vale and Buckley, as Brown saw a free kick sail over the bar at the other end.

Rovers began to step up their pressure as the game ticked in to the final quarter, with Evtimov saving from Vale before Rankin-Costello fired wide from a Thompson cross.

Buckley fired over from the edge of the box, as Stanley defended their box well, with Janoi Doancien an imposing figure. And the Reds could have made the game safe with seven minutes to go, Middlesbrough loanee Armstrong leading the charge for the visitors, with his effort deflected just wide of the target.

The last five minutes was frantic stuff, as Evtimov saved well from Thompson, before Vale failed to turn in from six yards when unmarked from Butterworth’s cross.

Rovers’ luck seemed to be out when Rankin-Costello rattled the bar, before, much to the anger of John Coleman, the pressure told as Thompson turned in from close range in the third minute of added time.

Stanley were ahead in the shoot-out when Andy Mangan scored, followed by a Butterworth miss, but Brown and Armstrong’s identical penalties came back off the bar, with Nolan’s effort saved allowing Rovers to progress.

They will meet Burnley or Rochdale in the final.

Rovers: Albinson, Doyle, Magloire, Carter, Rankin-Costello, Buckley, Paton, Thompson, Mols, Butterworth, Vale

Stanley: Evtimov, Rogers, Donacien, Gibson, Sousa, Brown, Nolan, Wood, Williams (Mangan, 60), Armstrong, Zanzala