Brantham Athletic progress in FA Vase after dramatic win at Haringey Borough
Brantham Athletic engineered a stirring comeback, at the expense of hosts Haringey Borough, to reach the last 32 of the FA Vase in a rip-roaring encounter in North London.
The Imps looked set for a third round exit when, already trailing 2-0, they conceded a penalty with just 20 minutes remaining.
But Ryan Bedingfield pulled off a good save, to keep out Cedric Lakole’s 70th minute spot kick, and that was the catalyst for the most dramatic of turnarounds.
The Suffolk side took just 10 minutes to level the tie, through goals from defender Jack Sibbons and substitute Ben Deacon, to drag the tie into extra-time.
And the strong-finishing Imps completed their comeback thanks to a third goal, and a second from striker Deacon, in the seventh minute of extra-time.
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It was certainly a very satisfying day for the Thurlow Nunn club, and their new manager Paul Abrahams in particular – the former Colchester United winger had only been in the job for three weeks.
Abrahams’ first match in charge had been a 2-1 win at Hadley in the second round of the FA Vase, the reward being an away tie at White Hart Lane – not the famous home of Tottenham – but the nearby Coles Park Stadium, the home of Essex Senior League outfit Haringey Borough.
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Another Vase victory, though, had seemed improbable as the Londoners, despite never dominating, found themselves 2-0 up by the mid-point of the second period.
Brantham had one chance before they fell behind, Simon Mann hooking an angled shot into the side netting from Dave Grimwood’s through ball on six minutes.
But just two minutes later and Haringey took the lead, via Anthony McDonald’s close range header.
Bedingfield kept the Imps in the tie with an excellent save on 10 minutes, as the hosts looked to kill off the game early.
Chris Benjamin burst through uncontested, only for his fierce shot to be well parried by Bedingfield
Brantham certainly had their opportunities to draw level during a disjointed first period.
Mann volleyed narrowly over the bar from just inside the penalty area, before Shaun Webb came close to equalising with the best move of the first half on 21 minutes.
Kieran Lawler’s through ball was helped on by both new signing Matthew Travis and Grimwood, but the hard-working Webb’s final shot was diverted around the post by home keeper Ashley Harris.
Harris was in the action again, pushing away a goal-bound header by Sibbons, from Mann’s corner on the stroke of half-time.
It looked grim for the visitors when Michael Deane doubled Borough’s lead in the 65th minute, but Bedingfield’s penalty save just five minutes later, from Lakole after Sibbons had felled substitute Deniz Mehmet, was the turning point.
Centre-half Sibbons sparked the recovery by bundling home from close range, following a 73rd minute corner, after which Brantham took control.
Travis saw his goal-bound shot parried by keeper Harris, and from the ensuing corner, defender Nico Farthing rattled the bar from inside the six-yard box.
But Deacon showed his team-mates how to finish, heading home the equaliser in the 80th minute, and then obliging with what proved to be the winner in extra-time.
Webb had ballooned a gilt-edged chance over the bar, from point blank range in the 96th minute, but 60 seconds later and Deacon swept home Mann’s precise cross.
It was a perfect way to end a perfect afternoon – the Imps mean business in the Vase this season.
BRANTHAM: Bedingfield, Pryke (sub Bloss), Ryland, Farthing, Sibbons, Lawler (sub Deacon, 71), Travis, Smith (sub Cole, 55), Webb, Mann, Grimwood.