Bridgwater Town held their nerve to beat Southern League Premier side Bideford 5-4 on penalties in the Red Insure Cup at Fairfax Park last night (October 17).
The visitors took the lead after ten minutes after debutant keeper Jake Viney was stranded in no-mans land and Matt Andrews took the liberty to lob him.
Bridgwater did respond and had a great chance through Craig Veal, but his shot was sliced well wide.
In the second half, Bridgwater's hard work paid dividend when they were given a rather fortuitous equaliser thanks to former Bridgwater keeper Sam Hutchings spilling Kye Thomas' curling shot and seeing the ball crawl over the line.
Both sides had chances to wrap up the win but Viney produced a couple of sharp reflex saves to keep the Bideford front men quiet.
In extra-time Dave Pearse had a glorious chance following Graham Mercieca's scuffed shot, but his left-footed shot went wide from five yards out.
Penalties would decide the winner and Bridgwater took an early advantage after Bideford hit the crossbar. It all came down to Jon Vance who coolly slotted the ball past the keeper to spark the celebrations and see The Robins into the hat for the next round.
Speaking to the Mercury's Daniel Milligan straight after the match, joint manager Kevin Milsom said it was a thoroughly deserved win.
He added: "The lads that came in did a great job and we got the ball down and played football, created chances and this is the second team from a higher division that we have beaten now.
"We have to concentrate on getting three points in the league on Saturday now and even though we have a big cup game after that we will not be taking our eyes off the league."
Kick-off at Fairfax Park for the match against Swindon Supermarine is at 3pm.
Mercury's top three players:
(1) Jon Vance - worked tirelessly up front and tracking back in defence and kept his head on the final penalty
(2) Kye Thomas - Looked solid all night and produced attacking runs down the left helping to get Bridgwater's equaliser
(3) Bradley Middleton - Lead the back four well, made several important tackles and also helped to link up some attacking moves too.