Littlehampton Football Club’s FA Vase run came to an end on Tuesday evening in dramatic last-minute heartbreak.
Having led for the majority of the second-round replay at Combined Counties League Premier Division side Hanworth Villa, Golds conceded twice in the last 13 minutes, with the winner coming with virtually the last kick of the game.
It was far from third time lucky for Littlehampton as the replay finally went ahead on Tuesday after two postponements.
The original tie took place back on November 17 where there was nothing between the two sides at The Sportsfield in a 1-1 draw. And the replay was again a tight 90 minutes, although Golds had the better of the first half while the hosts edged the second to set up a third-round clash with Croydon.
Littlehampton manager Mark Bennett admitted it was disappointing to exit the competition but has told his players there is still plenty more to play for this season.
He said: “It was a bonus while it lasted. Unfortunately, we played really well in the first half and in the second we stopped.
“We have to move on now, though. We were probably punching above our weight a bit, I suppose. It was disappointing and everything went against us. We had two on the bench and had people missing through injuries and others things.
“I am not making excuses, though. We didn’t do enough to win it, but having said that I didn’t think they did either, really. It’s like I said after the game, there is still a lot to play for, the league and other cups, although this was a historic one for us as we made the semi-final a few years ago.”
Golds made a fine start to the replay and led after 20 minutes as Jamie Atterwell put away Alex Kew, who finished at the second time of asking after his initial effort was saved.
Kew went close to a second 10 minutes later in a carbon copy of the first, but this time the goalkeeper saved his one-on-one chance to deny Golds a two-goal advantage which would have changed the game.
The home side came out stronger after the break and pulled a sloppy goal back on 77 minutes, and hit a last-minute winner after Shay Wiggins gave the ball away and a cross was tapped in from close range.