Emirates FA Cup third qualifying round - Sporting Khalsa 1 Spalding United 1
A dream start, a dramatic finish and not much quality in between.
That summed up a tense tie but at least the replay must be more entertaining!
For 90 minutes Spalding United battled away as they fought to hold on against Sporting Khalsa.
Josh Moreman’s strike on 58 seconds looked likely to be just enough to send the Tulips through.
Then in stoppage-time Michael Duggan conceded a penalty and Khalsa duly took their chance to keep those dreams alive.
The biggest game in the club’s history turned out to be a poor one in terms of goalscoring chances – not that anyone really cares in the West Midlands thanks to that last-gasp leveller on Non-League Day.
In the heart of the Black Country, the supporters were so excited over the prospect of a giant-killing act.
But in the first minute they were silenced as Moreman cut inside from the left flank and fired into the far corner of the net.
Khalsa’s 100 per cent home record this season and nine successive wins ensured they would get all the respect that they fully deserved.
However it took more than half an hour to offer any threat as Brad Lawley’s shot bounced wide after Craig Bannister had a couple of efforts blocked.
Bannister has already got nine goals in the FA Cup as part of his total of 21 – but he was kept very quiet this time and got taken off immediately after a yellow card.
Duggan’s first save came five minutes into the second half when Marvin Nisbett’s strike was parried.
He comfortably held onto substitute Michael Nelson’s attempt and Spalding looked strong with the spine of the side through Neal Spafford, Nathan Stainfield and Sam Murphy.
Possession was handed back cheaply all afternoon but the Tulips were ready to collect the £7,500 prize fund until they gave away a huge opportunity for Khalsa.
There were claims that Nisbett was offside and he may have handled the ball before Duggan got a touch.
But it looked like a blatant penalty and Duggan might have been fortunate to stay on the pitch.
He couldn’t keep out Dave Meese’s penalty which went into the bottom corner to spark celebrations around the Aspray Arena.
4-2-3-1: Pemberton; Franco, Rogers, Robinson, Jackson (sub Nelson 71 mins); Lawley (sub Campbell 71 mins), Wherton; Kinch, Meese, Nisbett; Bannister (sub Townsend 81 mins). Subs not used: Hadley, Uppal, Cork, Czerepaninel.
4-1-3-2: Duggan 6; Walker 6, Spafford 7, Stainfield 7, Jackson 6; Murphy 7; Banister 6, Millson 6, Moreman 6 (sub Lawlor 89 mins); Rodney 6 (sub Griffiths 58 mins, 6), Waumsley 6 (sub Watson 86 mins). Subs not used: Lockie, Hussey.
Moreman (58 secs, 0-1); Meese pen (90 mins, 1-1).
Bannister, Nelson, Duggan (fouls).
Sam Murphy – showed again how to provide protection in front of the back four by breaking up play and keeping it simple. The youngster played a key role with plenty of interceptions, tackles and headers at the heart of the team.