Colney Heath produce sensational performance and result in another classic FA Cup game
- Credit: Archant
Colney Heath Football Club produced one of the great FA Cup stories as they fought back from 3-0 down to Burgess Hill Town to force a replay on Tuesday night – and they almost snatched a late winner.
Hill play in the Bostik League Premier Division, two divisions higher than the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division Magpies.
And when two goals from Brandon Diau and one from Pat Harding made it 3-0 after just 30 minutes, a shock was anything but on the cards.
But in front of a crowd of 153, Callum Dudrenec started the fightback with a penalty before half-time before Jimmy Hill made it 3-2 on 64 minutes.
And Jack Woods sent pandemonium through the Recreation Ground crowd with six minutes remaining.
Hill almost won it late on with a header that went over the bar but the result will still go down as one of this year’s surprises.
Magpies manager Ryan Thompson was a very happy man after the game.
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He said: “The game plan was to sit a little bit deeper early on, keep in the game and then we had a couple of options later on.
“But then you concede a goal in the first three or four minutes and it throws everything out of the window.
“I don’t think we showed them too much respect but the heads dropped a little as we haven’t had the rub of the green in the league.
“We’re not a bad side but when it went to 3-0 I thought it could be six or seven.
“But then Callum took a good penalty and that gave us a bit of hope.
“I’ve got massive respect for the boys. They showed good character and they’re a good bunch of lads.”
Martin Marlborough, who has been chairman at the Recreation Ground for 22 years, said: “The money is obviously important but it’s the biggest game in our history.
“But we’re still in it and we’ll go down there on Tuesday.
“There were all sorts of people here. There were parish councillors turning up out of nowhere. It was good support, excellent.”
Thompson now has to turn his attention, and the focus of the players, to Tuesday’s replay at Leylands Park.
“Tuesday’s going to be massively hard to go down there and get something out of it,” said the gaffer.
“But we’ll go down there and hopefully get something out of it.
“That’s no fluke today. The boys have done that themselves today and thoroughly deserved to come back.
“Let’s hope we go down there on Tuesday, take that momentum, cut out the silly errors and take our chances.”