FOOTBALL - Valley held by 10-man Grantham in six-goal FA Cup thriller - The Rugby Observer

FOOTBALL - Valley held by 10-man Grantham in six-goal FA Cup thriller

Rugby Editorial 5th Sep, 2022 Updated: 5th Sep, 2022   0

RUGBY Town were denied a place in the next round of the FA Cup after they conceded in injury time to draw 3-3 with Grantham Town in an FA Cup thriller.

Valley looked to have completed a stunning second-half comeback after goals from Caine Elliott, Drew Kear and Dan Summerfield overturned a two-goal deficit.

However, Jonathan Wafula equalised for the visitors at the death to take the tie to a replay after an epic encounter at Butlin Road.

Rugby started well against the higher level opposition as both Madundo Semahimbo and Justin Marsden had early chances.

However, Wafula gave Grantham the lead on 21 minutes with a superb individual goal as he jinked his way into the penalty area before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net.

Valley almost drew level when Summerfield’s powerful header was kept out by Dan Haystead in the Grantham goal.

Rugby were handed a boost just before half time when Grantham captain Jake Wright was sent off for taking out Semahimbo as the last defender with the striker through on goal.

However, the visitors doubled their lead on 51 minutes when Ricky Miller’s shot took a huge deflection and wrong-footed Matt Hill in the Valley goal.

And with Rugby needing to find a response, Grantham almost took the game out of their reach on the counter with Harry Wood twice failing to add to his side’s total.

Valley eventually began to test the Grantham goal as Marsden saw an effort blocked before Loyiso Recci’s header was turned around the post by Haystead.

However, Rugby found a route back into the game on 67 minutes when Elliott tapped home from David Kolodynski’s square ball.

And substitute Kear drew Rugby level just a minute later when he guided an effort into the bottom corner from Marsden’s set up.

There were chances at both ends in a frantic finish as Hill made a diving save to keep out Miller’s shot on the turn before Summerfield headed narrowly over at the other end from Kear’s deep cross.

And the duo then combined for what looked like the winning goal on 84 minutes as Summerfield headed home from Kear’s floated cross to complete the comeback.

However, there was still time for one final twist in the tie as Wafula found the net from 20-yards out in the second minute of added time to take the tie to a replay.

Rugby meet Grantham in the replay on Tuesday, September 6 with kick-off at 7.45pm at Butlin Road.

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