HYDE United were knocked out of the FA Cup as two goalkeeping errors gifted Northwich Victoria a 2-1 win in their Second Qualifying Round tie at Ewen Fields on Saturday afternoon.
Debutant Josh Broadbent – deputizing for the cup-tied Jindrich Stanek – slipped in the first-half to allow Richard Bennett the opener, before then dropping the ball in his own net five minutes from time when under pressure from Bobby Langford.
Scott Spencer had equalised for the hosts through a superb free-kick, but it will be the performance of the rookie goalkeeper that lives long in the memories of fans in attendance on football’s annual non-league day, as Vics progress to the Third Qualifying Round.
The decision had been made by the home team to water the pitch prior to kick-off, and Tigers boss Gary Lowe will be left thinking how costly that choice was in what was his club’s second attempt at finding a passage through to the next round.
His side were beaten 1-0 in last month’s chalked-off tie, but Vics attacker Richard Bennett was in the mood to ensure that his side did progress, despite being forced to replay the game for fielding an ineligible player, as he capitalised on a loss of footing by Broadbent on thirteen minutes.
The Hyde stopper showed inexperience when caught in two minds on the edge of the box, but the wet surface ensured the decision of how to deal with the incoming ball was taken out of his hands as Bennett ran through to bury it into the vacated net.
A matter of minutes later, visiting goalkeeper Dane Smith was on the deck after a similar fall, but this time there was no onrushing attacker to capitalise and Vics’ number one recovered to clear the ball into the stands just in time.
There was nothing he could do about the equaliser on the half hour mark though, as Lee Neville and Spencer worked a set-piece that confused Northwich’s stranded stopper and allowed the latter to dink a beautiful free-kick into the bottom corner.
Smith was on the deck again two minutes later as the conditions increasingly started to resemble more that of an ice-skating rink than a football pitch – this time Spencer was bearing down on the loose ball, but again, the visiting goalie recovered in time.
He was called into action again nine minutes before the break as Hyde continued to push for a second, but Andy Pearson could only scuff an effort into his arms despite finding the ball at his feet just yards from goal.
Cedric Krou then produced a fantastic last ditch-tackle on the stroke of half-time to deny Liam Davies and ensure that the teams would go into the break on level terms.
With footwear assumingly changed at half-time by both goalkeepers, the second period felt much more like a traditional FA Cup tie, but still, errors looked destined to settle it.
Just minutes after coming on, Hyde’s Ryan Ellison played a loose ball across his back four which allowed Brian Summerskill a one-on-one opportunity against the otherwise quiet Broadbent, and this time the host’s goalkeeper produced a superb save to temporarily redeem his earlier error.
From the resulting corner, Michael Roddy should’ve put Vics back in-front after Broadbent was caught in no man’s land, before Jordan Williams wasted an equally good opportunity.
The visitors were not to be denied another goal though, and it came five minutes from time – again courtesy of a massive gift from the inconsistent Broadbent, whose heroics earlier in the half were instantly forgotten.
A high ball saw him competing in an aerial duel with the more physical Bobby Langford just inches from the goal line – and the Hyde stopper dropped the ball into his own goal despite receiving little contact from the visitor’s substitute.
Spencer attempted to spare his teammate’s blushes for a second time when he wriggled through a series of challenges in injury time, but his eventual effort went wide and Vics held on for a win that their supporters will feel their performance in the original tie deserved.
Gannon’s side will now travel to AFC Marine on Tuesday night as they look to get into the Fourth Qualifying Round and one round away from the first round proper.
Hyde United: Broadbent, Burke (Ellison ’54), Neville, Harris, Killock, Fitton (Jago ’76), Bevins, Spencer, Davies (Boyle ’81), Gray.
Unused subsitutes: Khamsuk
Northwich Victoria: Smith, Byrne, Duxbury, Krou, Clarke, Astles, Sanogo (Amis ’54), Bennett (Langford ’71), Summerskill (Welsby ’88), Williams.
Unused subsitutes: Clarke, Howard, McCoy.
Referee: Simeon Lucas
By Ashley Thornton Jones at Ewen Fields
All photo credits to Ashley Thorton Jones