Mick catlin hailed the composure of Sammy Igoe as Gosport Borough defeated Skrill Premier side Nuneaton Town 4-2 on penalties last night to progress into the third round of the FA Trophy – for the first time in the Privett Park club’s history.
Former Pompey man Igoe held his nerve to fire Boro’s decisive spot kick – as he had done seven months ago to book Alex Pike’s men’s place in Skrill South against Hemel Hempstead – after 210 minutes of goalless football to send the travelling Yellows fans and bench into jubilant celebrations.
The vastly experienced midfielder followed successful spot-kicks from Mike Gosney, Brett Poate and Justin Bennett at Liberty Way as Boro’ join neighbours Hawks in the draw for the last 16 – three games from Wembley.
Indeed the visitors could have won the shootout with their previous attempt but Adam Wilde was off target.
Nathan Ashmore’s earlier save from Louis Moult and Nuneaton substitute goalkeeper James Belshaw’s miss had awarded the visitors two bites at the cherry, and super-sub Igoe sealed progress at the second time of asking.
‘We have the man for the occasion when it comes to penalties in Sammy Igoe,’ said Borough assistant Catlin.
‘He scored the winning penalty to get us promotion at the end of last season and now he has scored the decisive spot-kick to put us into the last 16 of the FA Trophy.
‘It is no mean feat coming to Nuneaton who are fourth in the Skrill Premier and coming away with a win.
‘We restricted them to two or three chances all game and over the two matches I think we deserve to go through.’
It took 20 minutes for the first real chance of the game to arise, when a 30-yard lob from Dan Wooden dropped just past the Nuneaton upright.
Minutes later the visitors had another chance to break the deadlock, through captain Jamie Brown who saw his close-range effort superbly saved, and held on to, by Kelle Roos in the home side’s goal, following some neat play from Gosney.
Boro’ continued to pile the pressure on the hosts, with Brown again going close with a long-range effort that was tipped over the bar and out for a corner by the impressive Roos on the stroke of half-time.
Nuneaton started the second half in the ascendency and could’ve taken an early second-half lead.
A driven corner from the impressive James Armson was met by the head of Theo Streete, who could only guide his header wide of the helpless Ashmore’s post.
With 20 minutes left to play, Gosport thought they should’ve had a penalty.
A powerful Tom Dunford cross from the edge of the Nuneaton area looked to have struck the hand of Streete, but the referee waved away both the players’ and Pike’s, appeals – much to the outrage of the Boro’ boss.
With minutes remaining, Gosney then wasted a golden opportunity to send Gosport within three games of a Wembley appearance.
But the tricky winger blazed his shot over the bar following a one-on-one with Roos, thus sending the game into extra-time.
A predictably tight affair ensued with Bennett the closest to winning the game for Boro’ at the death.
But it wasn’t to matter, as moments later the visitors sealed their progress in dramatic fashion.