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Bridgwater Town earn FA Cup replay after dramatic fightback
8:00am Monday 30th September 2013 in Somerset Sport
FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
BRISTOL MANOR FARM 4 BRIDGWATER TOWN 4
BRIDGWATER Town manager Richard Fey admitted he was 'pleased to still be in the hat' after an extraordinary 4-4 draw with Bristol Manor Farm in the FA Cup on Saturday.
A crazy opening period saw the Robins fall 3-0 behind after just 16 minutes, as Manor Farm caught the visitors by surprise with some clinical finishing.
Two headers from Joe Bushin and a goal from Dean Griffiths levelled things up on the hour, before Mitchell Page completed a fine comeback with a classy finish. But a late penalty for the hosts ensured that the sides will do it all again on Tuesday night at Fairfax Park.
Brad Middleton nearly snatched it for Town in stoppage time, but his header was ruled out for pushing, a decision that angered Fey. He said: “I was watching Brad and I didn't see a push, but after the first 15 minutes we'd have taken a replay. They really caught us by surprise early on and they took every chance they got. We didn't defend well at all in the first half and they thoroughly deserved to be 3-0 up.
“But credit to the lads, we fought back and could have won the game. We've kept the unbeaten run going - it's now at 20 games and we're still in the cup. I'm just pleased to still be in the hat.”
The Bridgwater defence found themselves at sixes and sevens in the opening stages, while the midfield were over-run by the strong running and skill of Durrant in the inside right channel.
Two neat finishes and a Phil Veal own goal gave Manor Farm a resounding lead after just 16 minutes, leaving a shell-shocked Town to try and find a way back into the contest.
Play evened up for the remaining 30 minutes of the half but Bridgwater seldom looked like cutting the deficit.
Only a great tackle by captain McGrath prevented Manor Farm putting the game to bed before half-time.
Bridgwater started the second half much more positively and scored three times within 16 minutes of the restart.
Two Bushin headers cut the deficit and another Bushin header was laid into the path of Griffiths, who slotted home from ten yards to make it 3-3.
The 78th minute saw a game-changing incident - Pilling crashed the ball against the framework of his own goal and in the ensuing scramble, McGrath cleared off the line. Keeper Wright was on hand to fall on the ball, before his long clearance found Mitchell Page who outstripped the defence to finish in style.
It seemed that this would prove to be the winning goal, but a tumble in the penalty area earned a late penalty which was calmly dispatched by Holley.
Bridgwater's 13th corner of the afternoon saw Middleton head home what appeared to be a late winner, but the referee's whistle cut any celebrations short as both sides had to settle for a replay.
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