Scarborough Athletic 2
Stratford Town 2
FA Cup, Third Qualifying Round
Report by Bryan Hale
STRATFORD will face a Tuesday night replay at the MoodChimp Stadium after a last-gasp equaliser denied them a famous win at Scarborough Athletic.
Town had led 2-1 going into the third minute of stoppage time after goals from Ben Stephens and Dan Summerfield put them on the brink of a place in the final qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
But then Northern Premier Division One North high-fliers snatched a dramatic leveller throug substitute Leon Osbourne.
Quickly adapting to the Flamingo Land Stadium’s 3G pitch, Stratford went ahead in only the eighth minute when Will Grocott’s right-wing corner was headed down by Liam Francis and slotted home in by Stephens from inside the six-yard box.
But Scarborough, who came into this tie on an eight-game winning run, hit back to equalise on 19 minutes. Leading scorer Mike Coulson, who was with St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League last season, showed his class as he twisted and turned in the left of the penalty area to hit a sumptuous right-footer which soared beyond Stratford keeper Louis Connor into the top corner.
Four minutes later, though, Stratford regained the lead when Jazz Luckie was barged over by Dan Thirkell in the penalty area and referee Paul Brown immediately pointed to the spot.
Stephens’ penalty was beaten away by Scarborough keeper Tom Taylor plunging to his left who then recovered instantly to block Luckie’s follow-up effort but was helpless as Summerfield pounced on the loose ball to fire it into the net.
Stratford thought that they had gone two-up on the half-hour mark when Stephens netted from another Grocott corner, only for it to be disallowed for pushing as the ball came across.
The second half got off to a subdued start before Grocott livened it up in the 59th minute with a thunderous effort from all of 35 yards out which cannoned against the bar. Luckie was first to the rebound but his shot was superbly charged down by Taylor.
Scarborough tried hard to get back in the tie with Coulson always the dangerman but a Stratford defence, in which Francis and Andy Gallinagh were outstanding, were content to soak up the pressure and Connor was never seriously tested.
Luke Dean had a decent attempt blocked by Gallinagh with seven minutes to go, but a leveller didn’t look likely until the game headed into stoppage time.
Then in the third of five added minutes Max Wright’s header was pushed out by Connor and substitute Leon Osborne lashed in the rebound from a narrow angle.
The sides will meet again at the MoodChimp Stadium on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.
SCARBOROUGH: Taylor, Johnson (Cadman 88), Merris (c) (Melthorpe 43), Valentine, Thirkell, Hewitt, Daly, Dean, Sinclair (Osborne 51), Coulson, Wright.
STRATFORD: Connor, Summerfield, Thomas, Gallinagh, Recci, Francis, Marsden (Bako 66), Fry (c), Luckie, Grocott, Stephens (Taylor 81).