Merthyr Town go in search of cup success when they play Gloucestershire club Slimbridge at their Thornhill Park ground this evening (Wednesday, 7.45pm).
This CSS Southern League Challenge Cup tie was due to be played a week ago, but had to be rearranged because Slimbridge had a Buildbase FA Trophy replay against Winchester City.
The Swans of Slimbridge will take heart from their Trophy victory, even though it came after extra time and a penalty shootout.
Winchester won 4-1 in an FA Cup tie at Merthyr’s MetCoaches Stadium this season, but the Hampshire club could not stop Slimbridge making progress.
The teams fought out a 3-3 draw in the replay with Slimbridge winning on penalties.
Goalkeeper Eric Edge was their hero, saving two spot-kicks at the City Ground, while Joe Noakes scored the decisive penalty in a 6-5 shootout success.
“A crazy game,” said former Cheltenham youth and FC Miami City goalie Edge. “We went behind in 90 minutes and then again in extra time. The character we showed in fighting was something special.
“We’ve hit back from behind three or four times now this season and it’s no coincidence.
“The tie against Winchester was an emotional rollercoaster. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed so loud as when Ewen (Dunbar) scored the equaliser in extra-time.
“Saving the penalty knowing that Noakesy was going to score was a wonderful feeling. I knew when I’d made the save that the game was won and he was never missing.”
Man of the match Dunbar scored two goals for Slimbridge, while teenager Yeah Lomotey was their other marksman during the initial 120 minutes.
They now play Melksham Town at home in the next round of the Trophy. Ironically, the Martyrs defeated Melksham 4-1 away earlier in the FA Cup.
Merthyr enter the FA Trophy draw after this weekend’s ties, while Wrexham enter the competition in the first round proper.
Edge, previously a youth development player at Cheltenham Town, has also played for Bishop’s Cleeve and Tuffley Rovers, as well as a spell in the USA with FC Miami City.
Lomotey, aged 18, is a former Leyton Orient and Brentwood Town centre-forward who had trials with Hull City.
He is from Essex, but plays for Slimbridge while he is studying at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire and says: “I have played youth football for Barnet and Orient against top clubs including Swansea City, Cardiff City and Bristol City.”
Slimbridge were promoted to Southern League football after the 2014-15 season, having finished third in Western League Premier football.
They won 5-0 against Willand Rovers in their final fixture to clinch third place and had to wait before their promotion was confirmed.
Southern League South and West is the highest level of football Slimbridge have played in.
Now they take on Merthyr in the League Challenge Cup, a competition sponsored by City Security Services.
Merthyr were without a match last weekend, while in Southern Premier South Weymouth moved three points clear at the top after a 1-0 win against second-bottom Wimborne Town.
With only six games due to Emirates FA Cup ties, the Terras were made to fight hard by their Dorset rivals in front of 942 spectators before a Harry Baker goal six minutes from time settled the match in the Weymouth’s favour.
Taunton Town are second after a 3-0 win against Somerset rivals Frome Town at the Viridor Stadium. A crowd of 587 saw Andrew Neal give the Peacocks a 23rd-minute lead that Ollie Chamberlain eventually doubled in the 65th minute.
A second for Neal two minutes into stoppage time clinched victory.
Managerless teams are often dangerous to play and so it proved for Farnborough as they became Chesham United’s first victims of the season.
Oran Swales scored 28th-minute goal to earn Chesham a 1-0 win.
Dorchester Town secured a last-gasp 2-1 win at the Camrose against Basingstoke Town, whose Jack McKnight broke the deadlock on 66 minutes.
Two minutes later Aaron Rodriguez equalised and then Cameron Murray won it for the visitors three minutes into injury time.
LEAGUE TABLE: EVO-STIK LEAGUE SOUTH PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH – 2018/2019
LEAGUE TABLE: EVO-STIK LEAGUE SOUTH DIVISION ONE SOUTH – 2018/2019
|Blackfield & Langley||8||5||2||1||14||6||8||–||17|
|Bristol Manor Farm||6||2||2||2||11||11||0||–||8|