Jared Rance netted in the final minute of extra-time to earn East Preston Football Club an FA Vase first round qualifying replay on Saturday.
Rance’s late effort ensured EP sealed a 4-4 home draw with division-lower Southern Counties East Football League Division 1 outfit Forest Hill Park.
East Preston fought back from 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3 down to somehow snatch a replay and remain in the FA Vase for another day at least.
The dramatic cup tie left EP boss Bob Paine with mixed feelings at the end.
He said: “I not too sure how I feel to be honest. Some poor defending saw us go two goals down very early in the match.
“We got back in it, only to concede again and, after clawing our way back to level things up, we concede early in extra-time.
“The character shown from my team to come from two goals down twice was superb but we need to stop giving away silly goals.
“We could of done without a tricky trip to London but I’m pleased we’ve given ourselves a second chance. Hopefully we’ll be able to progress past Forest Hill in the replay.”
East Preston were left with it all to do after some sloppy defending saw them go two goals down inside six minutes.
Hanif Charles made the most of some poor defensive work from the home side to fire Forest Hill Hill ahead after four minutes. Jay Burke then added a second less than two minutes later.
Hayden Hunter’s fierce strike, which crept past the goalkeeper at his near post, completed a whirlwind opening ten minutes.
More poor work at the back gifted Marco Almeida the chance to restore Forest Hill’s two-goal cushion after 15 minutes.
East Preston got back in it once again when Hunter headed home a Steve Herbert cross on the half-hour.
The home side wasted some glorious opportunities to draw themselves level before the break.
Substitute Jake Heryet saw his strike bounce back out off the crossbar, only for Rance to poke home the rebound and force extra-time ten minutes from the end.
Adam Toubal netted three minutes in to the additional 30 to hand Forest Hill a 4-3 lead, which they looked to have defended.
With less than a minute to go, EP trailed and looked destined to exit the FA Vase.
Just as they’d done on two previous occasions during the game, East Preston levelled again to force a replay.
The home side had a free-kick with what was virtually the last kick of the match.
Everyone went forward, including goalkeeper Chris Cook, with Rance somehow scrambling the ball home as his side lived to fight at least one more day in this year’s FA Vase.
East Preston travel to Forest Hill Park for the replay tomorrow (7.45pm).
EAST PRESTON: Cook; DaCosta, Stevenson, Etherington, Jacob Parazo; Gilbertson, Barnes; Rance, Franzen-Jones, Herbert; Hunter. Subs: Huet (Franzen-Jones, 64), Heryet (Herbert, 70), Laughlin (Barnes, 87), Purkis, Josh Parazo.
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