FA CUP FOOTBALL: Striker stars as goalkeeper as Eynesbury Rovers earn replay while it’s high fives all round for Godmanchester Rovers
- Credit: Archant
Manager Mark Ducket spoke of his pride after Eynesbury Rovers earned an FA Cup replay . . . with a striker in goal!
The Rovers chief handed the gloves to frontman Craig Smith for a preliminary round 1-1 draw at fellow unbeaten side Histon with number one Aaron Butcher banned.
Loan goalkeeper Harry Reynolds, who played for Rovers in a league game the previous week, was recalled by higher-level neighbours St Neots and was a substitute for them today.
Ducket was unable to recruit a replacement despite a frantic Friday search, but Smith proved to an inspired choice with a fine performance.
“I tried to contact 11 clubs yesterday and none were prepared to lend me a goalkeeper for an FA Cup tie, which I understand,” said Ducket.
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“The only player it would have been possible to bring in was a 17 year-old from a professional club, but I didn’t feel it was right to use a lad like that in a game of such magnitude.
“It’s a hugely important position, but I knew I could trust Craig to give his all and he was exceptional.
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He made untold saves, he claimed catches, he kicked absolutely superbly and he was a big part of us getting a good result against a side who have been battering everyone in their league.
“This is as proud as I’ve ever been of my team after a game and we’re looking forward to the replay.”
Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division title favourites Histon hit the front in the first half, but Danny Draper hit a fine leveller for United Counties League Premier Division outfit Eynesbury just after the hour.
Ducket will again attempt to draft in a goalkeeper before the teams meet again at Hall Road on Tuesday night, but he could again turn to Smith if needed.
Eynesbury are attempting to join fellow locals Godmanchester Rovers in the first qualifying round after they produced a five-star Friday performance to make FA Cup progress.
Ollie Drake’s men breezed to the club’s biggest-ever victory in the famous competition when triumphing 5-0 at fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Thetford Town.
Joe Furness made the breakthrough from the penalty spot before Jack Chandler and captain Micky Hyem put Rovers in command by half-time.
Furness turned provider in the second half to lay on a fourth Rovers goal for Chandler before Simon Unwin completed the scoring.