A day that promised so much ended in bitter disappointment for Easington Sports in the Emirates FA Cup.
Chipping Sodbury Town produced a smash-and-grab raid to knock Sports out in Saturday’s preliminary round tie at Addison Road. Justin Bishop’s stoppage-time winner saw Town emerged 2-1 winners from a tie which should have long beyond them.
Joe Eyre gave Sports the second half advantage but, after squandering chances in both halves, the UHLSport Hellenic league were made to pay. The poor Wessex League outfit equalised through Steve Fitzpatrick in the final minute of normal time and Bishop won it moments later.
To make matters worse for Sports, Niall Higgins got a straight red card in stoppage-time for kicking out in frustration while Bishop also saw red for dissent after picking up a second caution following the final whistle.
Sports flew out of the blocks and created all the early chances. Josh Rose headed over from a corner, Callum Convey burst through but fired over while Andrew Stidder wasted a good opportunity after being released by Convey. Craig Robinson headed into the side-netting and Eyre’s speculative low drive hit the foot of the post.
Eyre cut inside but fired over as the visitors struggled to stay on level terms. But they had an effort rightly ruled out on the stroke of halftime for offside after Joe White turned the ball in from close range.
Sports finally broke the deadlock two minutes after the restart when Adam Rimmer’s long clearance found Eyre who lobbed the advancing Jack Dando from the edge of the box.
Boosted by the breakthrough, Sports went for the crucial second goal. Henry Rose cut inside but was denied by Dando who also thwarted Eyre with Convey’s follow-up being blocked by a defender.
The second goal failed to materialise but Sports never really looked under threat despite the visitors upping the tempo late on. However, Sports failed to manage and see the game out.
Sodbury sensed an unlikely equaliser and a replay. It arrived in the 90th minute when Jamie Clark-Samuel’s deep cross was headed home at the far post by the unmarked Fitzpatrick.
Shell-shocked Sports had barely recovered when White won possession on the edge of the box and released Bishop who beat Rimmer from close range.
Sports rallied but were unable to get back on level terms during six minutes-stoppage time and they were left to reflect on what might have been. An excellent opportunity to make the first qualifying round had been snatched away from them.