Nolan double takes Town into their own 'cup final'
Sutton Coldfield 1, Lowestoft Town 2: Lowestoft Town joint boss Micky Chapman praised his team of 'heroes' last night as they came from behind to put themselves within 90 minutes of a possible clash with a giant from the Football League. A second-half Matt Nolan double won the FA Cup third qualifying round replay in the Midlands and a tie at Blue Square North outfit Gloucester City in the final qualifying round.
Sutton Coldfield 1, Lowestoft Town 2
Lowestoft Town joint boss Micky Chapman praised his team of 'heroes' last night as they came from behind to put themselves within 90 minutes of a possible clash with a giant from the Football League.
A second-half Matt Nolan double won the FA Cup third qualifying round replay in the Midlands and a tie at Blue Square North outfit Gloucester City in the final qualifying round.
The winners will of that will go into the first round proper with clubs from the Football League's One and Two, including the likes of Leeds United, Charlton, Southampton and Norwich City.
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Town made their path into the next round the hard way after Junior Brown gave Sutton Coldfield the lead on 41 minutes.
But, an inspired second half performance from the Trawler Boys and Nolan in particular saw them battle through to a tie in the West country later this month.
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Nolan struck first on 65 minutes when a free-kick from keeper Andy Reynolds was flicked into his path and the striker volleyed home from 10 yards out.
The same player completed the turnaround just 11 minutes from full time. A Town corner was only cleared to Andrew Fisk, who crossed back into the penalty box and Nolan was on hand to volley home again and send more than 100 visiting fans into delirium.
An understandably delighted Chapman had nothing but praise for his team, saying: “We're well pleased. It was a fantastic result for us. The boys showed so much character.
“We're absolutely over the moon. We've come through a big test. It was always going to be tough against a good side on their own patch, and to come back from a goal down too.
“It was a bad time to concede a goal, just before half time, and that was their first shot of the game.
“We'd had most of the play and we were the better side and that's what we said to the boys at half-time. We were the better team and they've had one shot and scored and that took a deflection.
“But all credit to the lads, they were heroes tonight. They stuck together, kept their shape, kept working and played at a high tempo to score the two goals to get them into the next round. Absolutely fantastic.
“We're all just so proud of them. We couldn't have asked any more of them. They've been top drawer.
“We had a lot of fans who travelled up. We must have had 100 fans who travelled up in their cars and on buses and it was absolutely fantastic and they made loads of noise and they played their part as well.
“So we're proud of them and everyone and everyone connected with Lowestoft Town is delighted. A great result for us.”
Chapman admitted his side were “massive” underdogs against Gloucester, but said his side will treat it as their own cup final.
“Realistically, now we're in a cup final,” he said. “We said to the boys it was a semi-final because the next one is one step away from something massive. So we can look forward to that an away trip to Gloucester which will be a massive test for us.”
The Trawler Boys will face a side that has maintained a steady progression up the non-league pyramid over the past six years, despite a problem which should have crippled them.
In the summer of 2007, Gloucester's Meadow Park home of only 21 years, was so badly flooded - the water lapping over their crossbars - that they were forced to abandon it, initially for a season as tenants of Forest Green Rovers and then, since last year, to move in with Cirencester.
Despite playing every home game more than 15 miles out of the city they not only consolidated the Southern League Premier status they had earned in 2004 but gained promotion last May, through the play-offs, to the Blue Square Conference.
Even then it wasn't all plain sailing as they were controversially placed in the Northern section.
Ironically they have been much better on their travels, having lost only once, while at home they have lost five out of six.
The Tigers are managed by former Leeds and Bristol Rovers midfielder Dave Mehew.
t REVISED DRAW
FA Cup. 4th qualifying round:
Hinckley v Histon, Nuneaton v Guiseley or Kendal, Halifax Tn v Wrexham, Gateshead v Alfreton or Southport, Workington v Rushden & D, Mansfield v Altrincham, Buxton v Stourbridge or Hucknall, Salford or Blyth Spartans v AFC Telford, Ilkeston or Eastwood v Tamworth, Lincoln Utd or Frickley v Cambridge Utd, Kettering Tn v Redditch, Northwich Victoria v FC United of Manchester or Stalybridge Celtic, Barrow v Chester City, Kidderminster v Fleetwood, York City v Bedworth, Hendon or Ashford (Middx) v Woking, Gloucester City v Lowestoft Town, Heybridge Swifts or Farnborough v Salisbury, Truro or Mangotsfield v Forest Green, Crawley Townv AFC Wimbledon, Oxford City v Bury Town or Bedford, Bromley v Ebbsfleet, Chelmsford v Stevenage, Aylesbury v Wealdstone, Dover v Eastleigh, Hayes & Yeading v Staines, Luton Tn v Grays Ath, Oxford Utd v Thurrock, Bath City v AFC Totton, Paulton v Chippenham, Tooting & Mitcham v Eastbourne, Hampton or Aveley v Sutton Utd.
t Ties to be played on Saturday, October 24.