Seagulls scrape into final FA Cup qualifying round
PUBLISHED: 15:21 08 October 2018
Weston-super-Mare are just 90 minutes from a spot in the first round proper of the FA Cup after substitute Eli Phipps' last-gasp winner secured a 1-0 victory over Coggeshall Town on Saturday.
The visitors – part owned by chart-topping singer Olly Murs – were unfortunate not to leave the Woodspring Stadium with the spoils against the 10-man Seagulls after Tristan Plummer saw red for a horrible lunge early in the second half.
Former X-Factor star Murs watched on from the dugout as Weston keeper Luke Purnell bailed out his teammates after another insipid performance, making a string of excellent saves to keep Marc McGregor’s side in the cup.
And a late change from the manager yielded immediate dividends, as Phipps found the net with his first touch in added time – earning the Seagulls £15,000 in prize money and a mouth-watering fourth qualifying round tie against Somerset rivals Bath City.
Despite grumbles from the terraces, McGregor believes his side offered a ‘really good performance’.
He said: “When you come up against sides from a couple of leagues lower, they’re always going to raise their game a minimum of 10-15 per cent. If you’re not at the races it becomes a hard afternoon.
“We just didn’t flow like we did last week when we moved the ball and competed well.
“That’s the beauty of the cup, but what I can say is we dug in and put a really good performance in.
“We played 45 minutes with 10 men, but we still looked like the team with the extra man. We dominated the ball. Overall I was pleased, no-one looks at how we got there and it was a good result for us.
“It’s great to see Luke do his job, that’s what we pay him for.”
The first chance of the game fell to Curtis Haynes Brown, who stole in on nine minutes after some familiar indecision in the Weston defence after a long punt forward, but his half volley was skewed wide.
Purnell then made two superb saves in two minutes, first denying George Cocklin’s drive before miraculously denying Tyler Brampton’s point-blank header.
Weston were trending towards a miserable afternoon, lacking potency in attack, and things worsened when Plummer saw read for a two-footed lunge on Daniel Cunningham two minutes into the second half.
The Seagulls’ stopper continued to be in fine form, saving from Darren Mills when he was through on goal, and Tom Monk spurned a golden chance inside the final 10 minutes when he missed the target from eight yards out.
And the Essex side paid for their wastefulness, as Phipps emerged from the bench to stab home George Nurse’s low whopped corner from six yards out as normal time expired.