Extra-time joy as Hemel Town beat Nuneaton to keep FA Cup dreams alive
The magic of the FA Cup was on show at Vauxhall Road tonight as Hemel Hempstead Town saw off Nuneaton Town 2-0 after extra-time to book their place in the first round proper.
In a game of few chances, Hemel struck twice in the additional period through Jamal Lowe and James Potton to set up a trip to League Two side Bury.
Vauxhall Road was buzzing before kick-off, and the 1,222 fans packed into the Hemel ground were treated to a truly memorable victory for Dean Brennan’s Tudor side.
Following Saturday’s 0-0 stalemate in the original tie, Hemel would have been quietly confident of causing an upset against their Conference Premier opponents.
It was the visitors who perhaps shaded the early exchanges, with Ben Hutchinson sending a header narrowly past the post, but in truth the first half was a relatively uneventful affair.
Hemel striker Lewis Toomey got on the end of a long ball before onrushing Nuneaton keeper James Hogarth-Wren, but the forward saw his effort trickle past the post.
Both sides huffed and puffed as the game went on, with neither goalkeeper forced into any real save of note.
With both sides knowing that one error could send them out of the competition, there was an understandable nervousness to some of the play as the game wound towards its conclusion.
However, it was Hemel who found their second wind in extra-time and took the game by the scruff of its neck; in particular second half substitute Lowe.
The Barnet loanee had come close for Hemel minutes earlier, before he deservedly broke the deadlock three minutes into the first half of extra-time.
Tudors skipper Jordan Parkes broke clear and pulled the ball back across goal to Lowe, who was on hand to gleefully slot home to the delight of the Hemel faithful.
From then on, it was nearly all one-way traffic, and Hemel made sure of the win shortly before the interval when Danny Talbot surged through the middle and teed up Potton to slot home with aplomb.
Hemel never looked in danger of conceding in the second half, and they comfortably held on to set up a clash with Bury – their first foray into the first round proper for 76 years.