Brantham Athletic make history in the FA Cup with win over Spalding

Brantham defender Jack Marshall pumps the ball upfield during today's FA Cup clash against Spalding.

Brantham defender Jack Marshall pumps the ball upfield during today's FA Cup clash against Spalding. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

Brantham Athletic 1 Spalding United 0

Craig Hughes, right, in action against Spalding today. Hughes played well in the middle of the park.

Craig Hughes, right, in action against Spalding today. Hughes played well in the middle of the park. Picture: CARL MARSTON - Credit: Archant

George Clarke’s deadly finish ensured that Brantham Athletic made history, at home to Spalding United in the FA Cup this afternoon.

The alert Clarke was in the right place to volley home a cross from the left, delivered by joint player-manager Michael Brothers, on 72 minutes.

It was an excellent finish by Clarke, who twisted in mid-air to steer the ball home.

Brantham had never before advanced past the FA Cup first qualifying round, so this was a notable achievement by the class of 2018-19.


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Spalding had an early goal disallowed, for a foul on keeper Luke Avenell. Gary King crossed from the left and Ben Davison clattered into Avenell before Tom Siddons steered the loose ball into the empty net. But the referee had already blown his whistle for a free-kick.

Brantham threatened on 12 minutes, with Elliott Johnson setting Clarke powering down the left. But his delivery flashed across goal and wide, with no team-mate on hand to apply a finishing touch.

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Brothers registered the hosts’ first effort on target, on 20 minutes. The striker turned and volleyed goalwards from outside the penalty area, but it was food-and-drink to keeper Michael Duggan.

A mistake by the hosts almost led to an opening goal for Spalding, just before the half-hour mark. However, striker Siddons rifled a shot over the bar with just keeper Avenell to beat.

The visitors peppered the target once more before the break. Siddons delivered a wonderful cross from the right flank, and King’s powerful header sailed narrowly wide of the far upright.

Although Spalding had the better chances in the first half, Brantham were very much in the game, and midfielder Craig Hughes went close with a ferocious 20-yarder which soared a few feet wide on the hour mark.

The Lincolnshire club, though, still bossed possession and they went close twice on 63 minutes. Siddons saw his header deflected over the bar from Jordan Lemon’s cross, and from the ensuing corner, centre-half Kern Miller nodded agonisingly over But it was Brantham who came up with the winning goal, thanks to Clarke’s excellent finish.

BRANTHAM: Avenell, Lumley (sub Bennett, 53), Nobbs, C Hughes, Sibbons, Marshall, Madley, Yaxley (sub Newland, 73), Brothers, Clarke, Johnson (sub Rowe, 68). Unused subs: Cole, Rymer, F Hughes, Watkins.

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