Eastbourne Borough manager Tommy Widdrington celebrated a birthday on Tuesday, but he may feel more than a year older after seeing his side squeeze into the next round of the FA Cup on penalties in an absolute thriller.
After Saturday’s 1-1 stalemate, the replay at Enfield Town swung back and forth with Marvin Hamilton firing the Sports ahead on 33 minutes, only to concede two Enfield goals in a disastrous minute at the start of the second half.
They were still trailing 2-1 with the tie apparently slipping away from them, before a flurry of goals at the very end of the ninety minutes set the match alight. Dean Sinclair equalised and Simon Johnson stabbed Borough into a 3-2 lead with only five minutes of normal time to play. But Enfield stormed back to level the tie at 3-3 on 88 minutes.
In the extra half-hour, Kiran Khinda-John conceded a soft-looking penalty to let an elated home side reclaim the lead. But youngster Dean Bown nudged in an equaliser to take it to 4-4, and then in the penalty shoot-out Borough goalkeeper Lewis Carey was hero of the night, not only saving two Enfield spot kicks but actually scoring one of his own, as Eastbourne won by 4 penalties to 3.
Borough travel to Kingstonian in the next round - a tie which is expected to be moved to Sunday 12th October, because landlords AFC Wimbledon have a home game on Saturday 11th.