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Stourport Swifts keep cup upset dreams alive
FA Cup first round qualifying.
Stourport Swifts 1 – 1 Stafford Rangers
STOURPORT Swifts were a match for their supposedly superior opponents as they forced an FA Cup replay against Stafford Rangers in the £3,000-match.
Rod Brown's Midland Alliance men will do battle again with the Evo-Stick Premier side at Marston Road on Tuesday night after a nervy affair finished 1-1 at Walshes Meadow. Lewis Pountney stabbed in the game's first goal on 41 minutes after a slow first half took a long time to get going on a sunny afternoon.
Swifts fans dared to dream of a cup-set in what Brown had previously described as their biggest game “in a decade”.
On the 65th minute, however, Michael Carr equalised for Rangers with a spectacular overhead kick after Swifts failed to clear a corner.
In front of 171 spectators both sides looked nervous at the start with the first real chance falling to Swifts on 20 minutes as a cross-come-shot by Paul Jones caused a scare for Greg Clowes’ side.
It forced Rangers to wake up and Courtney Pitt and Kevin Street injected some pace into their attack but with no real effect.
Stafford were getting frustrated and on 41 minutes, after a neat passing move for the home side, Joe Adams whipped in a corner which Kevin Spencer flicked on and Pountney tapped home.
Stourport, who came into the game on the back of a nine game unbeaten start to the season, continued to match their opponents at the start of the second half but as they began to tire Stafford took control.
Their goal came in the 65th minute when Ryan Dicker looped the ball back into the area after Swifts had cleared a corner.
Michael Carr leapt into the air and hit a perfect bicycle kick which Haydn Whitcome could only watch as it rippled the back of the net.
The goal kicked the away side, two divisions above Stourport, into action but they lacked ideas and it was Stourport who could have nicked it as Jones failed to finish off a last minute break by the home side.
Brown said: “Our team spirit, work ethic and support was superb. Games like this can hang on small things which is why we made sure we did not make one mistake.
“Their goal was fantastic but they did not have a lot of chances which is testament to the lads.
“This is a journey for us and we will enjoy going back there on Tuesday but we will be tired.
“I think we can play better but it is how much we are allowed to against them – they play with a tempo we are not used to.
“At the end of the day we try to do well in the league we are in and have set the bar high.”
Stourport: Whitcombe, Jones, Willets, Spencer, Smith, Walker (c), Adams, Dinsley, Pountney (Taylor, 90), Jones (Bridges, 90), Jackson. Subs: Bannister, Hurrell, Pearce, Lavery, Bridges, Evans, Taylor.
Stafford: Read, George, Brown, Dicker, Walshe, Downes, Street, Carr, Quinn (Newman, 59), Everall, Pitt. Subs: Espley, Alcock, Newman, Davies, Forde.