Penalty kings Dereham Town do it again in the FA Cup

Dereham Town vs St Neots, 16/09/14. Picture by Neil Smith

Dereham Town vs St Neots, 16/09/14. Picture by Neil Smith - Credit: Neil Smith

The one thing that defines the romance of the FA Cup, above all others, is undoubtedly its famous tales of giantkilling acts, writes Ed Colman.

Dereham Town vs St Neots, 16/09/14. Picture by Neil Smith

Dereham Town vs St Neots, 16/09/14. Picture by Neil Smith - Credit: Neil Smith

And Dereham Town supporters witnessed this romance first hand on Tuesday night as the Magpies knocked out Southern Premier Divison St Neots Town – who play one level above them.

Incredibly, like their replay victory in the previous round against St Ives Town, the Magpies' success was secured on penalties.

Boss Matt Henman said: 'I thought we showed a great spirit and it was really pleasing to see how we played with no fear, especially considering the occasion and the level of the opposition.

'Over the 120 minutes I thought we just about deserved the win and despite us having chances to win it inside 90, we are chuffed to be going through on penalties, even if it isn't great on the heart.

'Our fitness was excellent. It's always tough to play 120 minutes then penalties but our work rate was superb and the desire and togetherness that we showed all throughout the match was outstanding.'

With 85 minutes on the clock, it looked like the Saints had earned a trip to Vanarama Conference North oufit Boston United. However, a late Luke Tuttle penalty and heroics from Dereham goalkeeper Andrew Wilton during the shoot-out saw the Ryman Division One North side turn the tables on their higher league opponents.

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Wilton produced two excellent saves in a dramatic penalty shoot-out, with Michael Clunan, Tuttle, Toby Hilliard and Ryan Hawkins all converting to send the hosts through after winning 4-2.

Dereham had enjoyed a great spell of pressure just after half time, with Tuttle, Craig Bussens and Hilliard all going close after three well-worked corners, in quick succession. Despite a positive start to the second half, just past the hour mark the hosts fell behind after Matthew Nolan found the net with a glancing header.

In the 91st minute, Tuttle was needlessly bought down just inside the penalty area and he converted – and they won it after the two teams had failed to find a winner in extra time.

The result means Dereham will visit Boston in the second qualifying round on Saturday, September 27.

Next up for the Magpies is a trip to Harlow Town this weekend, while their reserve team host AFC Sudbury Reserves in the Thurlow Nunn First Divison. Dereham also visit AFC Sudbury's first team on Tuesday evening.

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