The magic of the Emirates FA Cup continued for Hanley Town as they saw off Southern Premier League side Redditch United by the odd goal in five to progress to the 2nd Qualifying Round.
It was a game that had everything you would want from a cup tie. Great goals, a sending off, a comeback and the winner being scored by a former FA Cup finalist.
Hanley were fully deserving of their victory and had several chances to go ahead before they broke the deadlock. The first coming just two minutes into the game when Kieran Brown saw his cross go narrowly over the bar. While Kyle Stubbs saw his speculative effort fly over Keiran Boucher’s goal after he got forward from the Hanley defence.
While at the other end, Hanley had to be careful with Matt Dodd putting in a couple of dangerous crosses that nearly saw former Leek Town goalkeeper Ben Chapman beaten.
Thomas Ashton should have made it 1-0 for Hanley midway through the first half when his glancing header drifted inches over the crossbar.
Brown broke the deadlock just five minutes before the break when he hit a stunning half-volley that left Boucher with no chance of saving it. Had Match Of The Day been present at Potteries Park or if this was a Football League goal then the goal of the Season competition would have been done and dusted for the season tonight, that’s just how amazing it was.
The drama was only just starting as the two teams trooped off the pitch at half-time Redditch forward Jack Storer took Umbridge to something said. Whatever Storer did or say, left the referee with no option to send him off and book Josh Beaumont in the process.
Despite being down to 10 men, Redditch came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and won a penalty just five minutes into the second half for a late foul inside the area. Thomas Rankin, who had moved from defence to forward following the red card, stepped up and sent Chapman the wrong way to make it 1-1.
The Southern Premier League side were starting to find their feet in the match and, just after the hour mark, they took the lead when Brandon Horton beat Chapman with a free-kick to make it 2-1.
Hanley Town manager Micky Morton responded to going behind by throwing on Barton, who’s goal against Gresley in the last round went viral. While goalscorer Brown was brought off for Fuller.
Fuller had two glorious chances to make it 2-2. The first saw his effort go just wide of the post when he was played in. While the second saw him go on a mazy run before his effort was blocked on the line.
Hanley were level with just eight minutes to go when the ball bobbled around in the area before Fuller played in Barton who smashed his effort past Boucher for 2-2. It’s the third time Barton has come on as a sub and scored a goal in this seasons competition.
Most people inside the ground were expecting penalties to decide this tie. But Hanley won it with just five minutes to go when Barton was shoved over in the box leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Fuller stepped up and used all his years of experience to send Boucher the wrong way and restore Hanley’s lead.
Hanley held out for the final minutes to book their place in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the competition as they continue to make history.
That draw on Friday will take place at 1pm and will feature former Football League sides such as Boston United, York City and Kidderminster Harriers to name just three.
After the match, I spoke to Hanley Town manager Micky Morton who gave us this assessment of the game.
While the match winner, Ricardo Fuller explained what went through his mind when he stepped up to take the penalty.
Hanley Town: Chapman, Faulkner, Sheldon, (Anthony, 63), Sanders, Beaumont, Stubbs, Ashton, Okome, Brown (Fuller, 69), Thompson (Barton, 82) and Needham.
Unused subs: Cope, Feeney and Lawrence.
Redditch United: Boucher, Wright, Horton, Rankin, Richards, Charlton, Dodd, Day, Storer, Clement and Reid (Cameron, 46)
Unused subs: Harrison, Taylor, Donnelly, Santo and Morrison.