Last minute heartbreak for Stamford AFC in the FA Cup

Stamford AFC in action. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-160914-171342001
Stamford AFC in action. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-160914-171342001
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Stamford AFC were denied an automatic place in the FA Cup Third Round Qualifying when they conceded an injury time penalty to draw 1-1 away at Gresley on Saturday.

The Daniels will now host Gresley at the Zeeco Stadium tomorrow night (Tuesday, 7.45pm ko).

While Stamford are still in the competition they really should have got the job done at the weekend as Graham Drury’s side put on an impressive display, particularly in the first half.

Gresley goalkeeper Rob Peet had to be alert early doors after Jake Duffy tested him from distance and then Jev Brown was denied by the stopper.

Stamford were controlling the possession and pushing the hosts back into their own half, although Ryan Walker did test Stamford keeper Paul Bastock with a low drive. It’s a remarkable feat Bastock is even back on the pitch after under-going surgery on an injured shoulder this summer. The doctors said he would be back by November, but you don’t play more than a 1,000 games by taking it easy.

After 17 minutes the Daniels’ strong start got some results. Brown attacked down the wing before crossing into the box for Elliott Sandy to head home from close range.

Having been punished by some direct football in the early part of the season, Stamford had learnt their lessons and were happy to send long balls into the Gresley box, which the home defence and keeper were struggling to deal with.

Stamford really should have had more goals to show for their good play in the first half. Before the break Peet saved a good Duffy free kick, Brown fired over when in a dangerous position and Duffy put a shot wide after being played into a promising position by John King.

In the end the Daniels’ failure to capitalise on their periods of domination would come back to bite them.

After some harsh words in the Gresley dressing at half time the hosts were much improved after the break.

First Lucas Harrison went on a good run before pushing a shot across the goal and then Bastock did well to push a powerful drive from former Stamford man Courtney Meade over the bar.

The Daniels defence were shutting down the Gresley attack well, allowing just three shots on target all match.

Stamford substitute Ryan Robbins really should have made the tie safe seven minutes from time when he scuffed a relatively easy chance wide.

In the final minute of regular time Meade almost levelled the scores, his shot had Bastock beaten, but it bounced off the bar and out.

In the end the only way Stamford were beaten was from the spot. Skipper Jordan Smith brought down the dribbling Tendai Chitiza in the box and referee Matthew Smith pointed to the spot. Pearson Mwanyongo did the business from 12 yards out, sending Bastock the wrong way to set up the replay.

Stamford AFC: Paul Bastock, Delroy Gordon, Paul Malone, Ollie Luto, Curtis Hartley, Sam Hill, Kern Miller, Tom Batchelor, Jevani Brown, Jake Duffy, Jordan Smith (c), Elliott Sandy, John King,

Substitutes: Gresley FC: Sam Mulready, Ryan Robbins, Ollie Brown-Hill, Nial Mather, Taylor McMillan.

Gresley FC: Rob Peet, Matt Roome (c), Ryan Walker, Jordan Wakeling, Lucas Harrison, Eddy Samba, Pearson Mwanyongo, Reece Morris, Tendai Chitiza, Courtney Meade, Toby Fura

Substitutes: Jamie Barrett, Jake Carlisle, Josh Egginton, Ben Harris, Matt Melbourne, Michael Pearson