Scorers: Paul Grimstone, Miguel Catalan (2)
Lineup: Tim Finch, Tom Hunt, Aaron Thaxter (c), Jason Bantock, Ciaran Kelly, Kevin Thaxter, Sam Wakely, Jordan Cole, Svetozar Popov, Miguel Catalan, Paul Grimstone
Subs: Jamie Hyde, Hamish Sinclair, Daryl McNie
Match Report:One week to the day since one of the biggest upsets in sporting history took place at the Amex Stadium, The View picked up where the Japanese left off and put in a tremendous display which saw them finish the victors in this epic two-hour battle at Waterhall.
George and Dragon were flying high in the Brighton and Worthing District League Premier Division in third place. Meanwhile, The View had failed to secure maximum points since the opening day demolition of St. Peters so a tough encounter was expected.
The visitors started stronger and could have been ahead quite early but for the heroic defending of Sam Wakely. To the uncultured eye, Wakely’s goal-line clearance looked like his head had unintentionally got in the way of the striker’s shot but he knew what he was doing.
Unfortunately, George and Dragon went in front shortly after. After committing a lot of men forward, George and Dragon broke quickly and fashioned an opportunity from just outside the box which whistled past Finch and into the net.
Following the goal, The View were guilty of complacency and were punished yet again when a goalmouth scramble following a corner wasn’t cleared and the ball was swept into the net through a crowd of bodies from a long-range strike.
After this, something changed.
The View seemed to make a collective decision without any words being spoken, that we would go down fighting for the remainder of the game rather than just give up.
This seemed to reap instant rewards with the Boys in Green playing the sort of football that we are capable of and we began to create chances.
A beautiful move between the team’s three foreign players, Ciaran Kelly, Svetozar Popov and Miguel Catalan culminated in Catalan playing a through ball to Paul Grimstone who put the ball across the ‘keeper and into the net.
Following some words of inspiration at half-time from Andy Nutall, The View began the second-half with a renewed confidence. The defence of Tom Hunt, Aaron Thaxter and Jason Bantock held firm and made sure Finchy was rarely tested while the rest of the team created chance after chance.
A long ball just wouldn’t bounce the way he wanted and he struggled to get it under control for a chance where he would have been through on goal.
Jordan Cole had a long-range effort which seemed to be going over only for it to dip and the last second forcing the ‘keeper to fumble it onto the crossbar.
Darryl McNie, James Hyde and Hamish Sinclair were introduced shortly after for Grimstone, Kelly and Wakely respectively and the subs succeeded in maintaining the intensity of The View’s attacks.
The View deservedly got the equaliser when a cross from Popov was met by the onrushing Catalan and fired it into the roof of the net.
With the tie unable to be decided in regulation time, extra-time loomed and in the first 15 minutes, The View were showing signs of fatigue allowing George and Dragon a lot of possession but the defence held firm and they prevented the visitors making any meaningful chances.
The second period of extra-time was more of an even contest but the main talking point was the penalty.
Aaron Thaxter, was adjudged to have fouled the George and Dragon striker in a decision that was questionable at best.
The only border more contested than the one on the Korean Peninsula is the one on the penalty box and although Thaxter’s alleged foul certainly took place in that vicinity, the referee pointed to the spot which was the only blot on the referee’s copybook.
As the striker placed the ball on the spot, View supporters would be forgiven for thinking this is how our cup adventure would finish, but Tim Finch had other ideas pulling off an incredible double save. First, low to his right to deny the spot-kick then the close-range rebound.
This certainly galvanised the team for the remainder of the game and with penalties looming proved to be a massive psychological blow to the visitors.
Just as the thought of penalties came into the mind, a certain Spanish striker put an end to that.
Catalan’s tireless running and endless harassing proved to be too much for one George and Dragon defender, Catalan stealing the ball from the defender and sprinted straight for goal where he was one-on-one with the ‘keeper and there was only going to be one winner in that situation, as the Spaniard rattled the net to secure our place in the next round.
An incredible performance coming from two goals down to win in extra-time making this a match to remember, it’s up to us to prove it wasn’t a fluke and hopefully we will make this a season to remember.
Match Report: By Ciaran Kelly
Still being counted.