What a night in the history of Kidsgrove Athletic Football Club as they booked their place in the 4th Qualifying round of the FA Cup and a trip to Hartlepool United a week on Saturday thanks to an extra-time winner from Rumenio to give the Grove a 2-1 victory over Workington.
Ryan Austin’s men didn’t have it all their own way as the visitors took the lead on the hour mark only for Lewis Bergin to bring it back level with a wonder strike from just inside the Reds half.
Workington play in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, one division above Kidsgrove and they made all the early running with Connor Tinnion having his free-kick parried away for a corner by Dom Kurasik, before the winger had found the back of the net but his goal was ruled out for offside.
The visiting fans broke out into applause on eight minutes to remember Tony Hooper who had passed away aged just 42, they also retired his number 8 shirt that night with Jamie Mellen wearing number 18 instead.
As the first half wore on Kidsgrove started to get back into the match with Chris Budrys firing straight at Aaron Taylor in the Workington goal while Bergin hit his effort over from distance. While just after the interval Lee Williamson could have opened the scoring when he broke through but he saw his weak shot fly into the hands of the Workington number one as the scores stayed level.
At the other end, Sam Joel shot just wide of the goal as he cut inside from the wing, before Allison had an effort blocked as Workington pushed for the opener. That opener came on the hour mark when a Tinnion corner was lofted in and Joel headed found the back of the net.
This group of Kidsgrove players have certainly got something about them and don’t let their heads drop when behind and they picked themselves up and got on the front foot with a couple of well-worked free-kicks falling into Taylor’s hands.
However, the Grove were level on 68 minutes when Bergin won the ball just inside the Workington half, noticing Taylor off the line he tried a spectacular effort, one which doesn’t normally go in but on this occasion, it found bounced the right side of the bar for Kidsgrove and they were level, despite Taylor getting a hand to the ball. What a goal it was and it summed up the magic of the FA Cup.
Both teams gave it their all to try and win the match with Budry’s going close, but as he was about to pounce, Niall Cowperthwaite stole the ball off his toes to deny him a goal.
Tinnion had two chances to win the tie for the visitors the best coming in the 90th minute when he was found unmarked in the area, with Kuraski racing out to make the goal smaller the winger fired the ball against the post as everyone in the Novus stadium thought he had won it.
That miss sent the game to extra-time as Austin gave his lads a rousing team talk as they started to up their work rate to over 100% as Will Saxon had a shot off target and Budrys had an effort blocked.
But it’ didn’t matter as in the 100th minute of game Rumenio was found in the area and despite being just 19 years old, he showed the composure of a footballer who was at the peak of his game to slot the ball underneath Taylor and give Kidsgrove the lead. The question was could they hold out for 20 minutes and see the tie out?
After half-time in extra-time, Runemio could have sealed the win for Grove as he broke clear but he decided to rush his shot, which he put wide, when he could have got into the area to try and force Taylor out of his goal.
You had to hope that the hosts wouldn’t pay for that miss as the Reds turned on the pressure with Kieran Maguire blazing over and having a corner cleared but Ryan Austin’s men stood firm, thanks to his help as well as he brought himself on for the last three minutes to lock up the defence.
Maguire had one last chance in the 119th minute, but his header looped over the bar and onto the roof of the net and when the referee, Paul Roots, blew his whistle for one last time it sparked joyous celebrations from everyone connected with Kidsgrove with chairman Mick Fitzjohn and directors Lee Cooper and his wife Janet running onto the pitch to celebrate with the players.
Following last nights victory, I caught up with Mick Fitzjohn who was ecstatic;
I also spoke to manager Ryan Austin who was also delighted;
What a night for Kidsgrove and everyone one of the 18 played their part throughout the night even Jordan Cole, Lee Cropper and Krystain Burzynski who remained on the bench.
Kidsgrove head to Hartlepool a week on Saturday, to try and make the first round proper for the first time in the clubs history, a game which Moorlands Radio will have full commentary on, but before then the Grove face a trip to Wisbech in the FA Trophy on Saturday and Runcorn Linnets in the league in midweek.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Kurasik, Freeland, Morris, Bergin, Rhodes, Bulter, Diskin, Williams, Budrys, Malbon and Williamson.
Subs: Rumenio (Bergin, 82), Saxon (Williamson, 57), Cole, Twyford (Malbon, 107), Cropper, Austin (Saxon, 117) and Burzynski.
Workington AFC: Taylor, Cowperthwaite, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Douglas, Hubbold, Allison, Mellen, Walker, Joel and Tinnion.
Subs: Maguire (Hubbold, 105), Olsen (Cowperthwaite, 113), Holt (Allison, 71), Tidy, Mossop (Tinnion, 116) and Casson.