Bridgwater Town pulled off a cup upset by turning over Hemel Hempstead 3-1 last night (October 2).
The Robins took the lead against the Southern League Premier Division side after 25 minutes through Dave Pearse – a lead which they held on to until nine minutes from time.
But the team responded and Joe McLennan and Jon Vance produced superb individual goals to seal the win and see the club pocked £2,550 in prize money.
Boss Kevin Milsom said: “The team showed amazing character because it was a difficult place to go and they didn’t make things easy for us on or off the pitch.
“It was a good team performance, I couldn’t pick anyone in particular out, and it is reward for Hemel Hempstead’s arrogance when they came to us on Saturday.
“It is great to go on a cup run and all helps later in the season when we may look to add to the squad.”
The first half was end to end but the home side were caught wanting the extra touch in the box and twice missed good opportunities.
Meanwhile, Bridgwater were not idle moving the ball swiftly in midfield with the Hemel keeper Osborn kept on his toes as McLennan and Steve Fitzpatrick stung his palms.
Bridgwater went in front on the 25-minute-mark after Pearse got in front of his marker to score with a diving header from a pinpoint Kye Mountford cross.
Two minutes earlier, Pearse had seen his lob just finish the wrong side of the post.
The goal gave Bridgwater confidence and Kye Thomas and Fitzpatrick had goo efforts well saved by Osborn.
In the second half and with the wind and rain behind them, Hemel dominated and put the Bridgwater back four under a lot of pressure.
Bradley Middleton and his defence kept getting the blocks in to protect Luke Purnell who should have been beaten when O’Leary got in a great position but could only direct a tame header to him.
Hemel got their equaliser on 81 minutes when O’Leary made amends to crash the ball home following a dangerous cross.
But an undeterred Bridgwater team reacted immediately and McLennan’s darting run through the middle of the Hemel defence saw him unleash a shot past Osborn to put his team back in the lead.
The match was sealed in injury time when Vance picked the ball up in his own half and went through unchallenged to score Bridgwater’s third goal and bag their spot in the next round to face a trip to Ryman Premier Division side Bognor Regis Town on October 27.
Team: Purnell, Thomas, P Veal, Middleton, Simpson, Mountford (McNabb 47), Vance, Fitzpatrick, McLennan, Mercieca (Ben Salem 90), Pearse