EASTBOURNE Town pulled off an amazing comeback in the preliminary round of the FA Trophy to knock out Ryman Division One North side, Chatham Town 4-3 at the Saffrons.
Their reward is a home tie against Hitchin Town on October 22.
An inspired performance by Sam Crabb was behind the Town triumph.
The midfield ace was on the scoresheet twice to help his side turn round a two-goal deficit.
It was Chatham who took the initial lead on 11 minutes when John Pilbeam poked in from close-range after the ball deflected down from the bar to his feet.
Pilbeam then linked up well with Garry Tilley who produced a superb lob over Town’s keeper, Kieron Thorp, from outside of the box two minutes later for Chatham’s second.
Town fought back on 31 minutes through Matt Geard’s blasted effort into the top left of Chatham’s Adam Molloy’s net after good work by Steve May.
The hosts then came close to the equaliser before half-time when Scott Kirkwood rattled the post after a disguised freekick between him and Crabb.
Shortly after the break, Chatham restored their two-goal advantage when a long goal kick from Molloy came Tilley’s way and he rounded Thorp to make it 3-1.
However, after a strong run on the left, Crabb finished well to reduce the arrears to just one goal at 3-2.
Molloy then denied an overhead effort from centre-back Dean Brooks on 68 minutes and saw a Sam Crabb cross evade everyone and strike his back-post but rebound tamely out of harm’s way.
It was on 82 minutes when Town were rewarded with a deserved equaliser after a Molloy save from a headed effort was chased by Sam Crabb who nestled a swivelled volley for his brace.
Town continued to attack with a winner in sight and when on 85 minutes a May shot was saved, the ball landed on Luke Denton’s head, the number 10 made no mistake in securing his side’s dramatic victory and progression through to the first round Boss Danny Bloor was pleased after his side’s momentous performance. He said, “That was one of the most exciting games here I’ve ever seen. If anyone has come to The Saffrons today for the first time, there’s no way you wouldn’t want to come back after that.
“To be 2-0 down and win 4-3 is testament to my staff and players. It was an old fashioned cup tie and my boys kept going. We showed real character.”
Eastbourne Town: Thorp 6, Davidson 6, Kessack 6 (Crabb N. 57), Brooks 6, Fogden 6, May 7, Kirkwood 7, Crabb S. 8, Curd 7, Denton 7, Geard 7 (Freeman 90) Subs not used: Lang, Greenfield, Christie
Chatham Town: Molloy, Laker, Barton, Solly (Marsh 65), Hill, Metitiri, Pilbeam (Hales 65), Potter, Fuller (Jeffrey 58), Newman, Tilley
Bookings: ET: Geard, Brooks, Crabb S.
CT: Hill, Fuller, Metitiri, Marsh, Hales
Referee: Tony Goddard. Attendance: 127.s: