After an amazing night at Bayliss Avenue, the Mead recovered from a 0-2 half time deficit and a half time lecture from Tommy and OB, to firstly force Extra Time thanks to goals from Ike Feehi and Ellis Green, before sealing progress in the extra 30 minutes through a stunning strike from Tom O’Connor before Ike sprinted clear to seal the victory and progress to the next round.
“We’ve definitely earned our money in the FA Cup this year,” Tommy admitted after the game. “We’re going to enjoy the night as night’s like these don’t happen too often but I’m most pleased for the Chairman tonight – he deserves this more than any of us! We all know that he needs some help at the club financially and tonight we’ve given him something back! I said before the game that all four managers for the Third Round draw will consider that the tie will be winnable. And now I will be at the Colliers Wood / Merstham replay Wednesday night, but with paying both sides the greatest respect, I don’t care who we play because if the lads do as they’re told because they’re all good at their own individual jobs, I know that we’ll do alright.”
Yet at half time, not even the most optimistic wearer of the Mead’s green would have thought making history would be possible. After a really disappointing half, the home side found themselves two behind as Austin twice took advantage of some lackluster defending to put the visitors in the driving seat. Austin’s first goal on ten minutes set the tone but his second was a horror show for Mead keeper Tyler McCarthy as the young keeper was punished for dwelling too long on a clearance as the striker charged it down and rolled the ball into the empty net.
“We started well tonight for fifteen / twenty minutes then we stopped,” the Mead boss admitted. “We made them look world beater and with respect gave them two goals where we didn’t attack the second ball – we were flat on our feet and we got caught for two poor goals! I don’t like chucking things away as we’ve worked so hard to get here and I’m annoyed as in the first half the boys didn’t have the belief that they should have had and we didn’t do our jobs and got punished! I went ballistic at half time and told them that I wasn’t putting up with that a performance like that – we made two changes (it could have been a load more) changed the system and thankfully the players responded and I’m pleased for them as they deserve to still be in the FA Cup.”
The changes Tommy made, with Ellis and Bode Anidugbe coming on, paid dividends within three minutes of the restart as Ike flicked the Mead level past the advancing Minter in the Hanwell goal. Although the Mead dominated for long second half periods, the chances were still at a premium. Paul Vines was a fraction away from turning a driven Ike cross into the net as the half began to drift away, and the Mead’s next real chance saw Adrian Stone’s shot blocked after a Green cross. Just as it seemed that the Mead weren’t going to find the goal their dominance deserved, Ellis put a brilliant curling ball into the box that sadly eluded all of his onrushing team-mates. However, the ball had enough curve on it to nestle beyond the diving Minter in the corner of the net, and the Mead had an 89th minute leveler. Cristain Nanetti then fired narrowly wide of the left post and Ike prodded a Cristain cross wide of the right post as the home side almost won the game in 90 minutes.
So for the second replay running, the Mead went into Extra time, and three minutes from the end of the first period took the lead for the first time on the night. Tom’s great run was only bettered by his stunning finish as he curled the ball around a diving Minter and into the net to spark wild scenes of celebration. Celebrations that grew as Ike sprinted away and whilst the defenders were appealing for a flag that didn’t come, the Mead striker rolled the ball past the advancing Minter to seal what had at half time in normal time seemed a very unlikely progression into the next round and with it a place in Club history.
Who said the Greatest Cup Competition in the World has lost its magic???
THE MEAD – Tyler McCarthy, Nathan Simpson, Jay Porter, Richard Butler (Bode Anidugbe HT), Joe Vines, Steve Sprigett (Ellis Green HT), Cristain Nanetti, Tom O’Connor, Ike Feehi, Paul Vines (Adrian Stone 81), Warren Whitely
Subs – Fraser Walker and Andy Walker
:Source: Thamesmead Town