Caine strikes to secure FA Cup glory for Rugby
Caine Elliott's extra-time goal in Tuesday evening's FA Cup replay against Grantham Town at Butlin Road finally secured Rugby Town a place in the second qualifying round of the competition, writes Jon Venner.
The two sides had played out a pulsating 3-3 encounter in the original tie at the same venue at the weekend, with Valley overturning the two-goal advantage established by their higher level opponents – before seeing victory snatched from their hands by a stoppage-time equaliser.
The 1-0 replay success earned Carl Adams's side a trip to Southern League Premier Central side Basford United on September 17, with the Town boss once more keen to highlight the spirit of his current squad.
Adams said: "I'm really proud of what we have achieved.
"We did really well to turn things right around from 2-0 down on Saturday, so to then concede such a late goal was a real body blow.
"We showed real character to bounce back so well for the replay. We were the better side for large parts of it, and we fully deserved to come out on top in the end."
On Saturday, Jonathan Wafula had given Grantham a half-time lead, which was then extended via a heavily deflected shot by Ricky Miller on 51 minutes, although the visitors were reduced to 10 men in between the goals when their skipper Jake Wright was dismissed.
Elliott and Drew Kear wiped out the differential though with two quickfire strikes, before Dan Summerfield headed home what appeared to be the clincher in the 84th minute.
However Wafula's last gasp intervention set up the replay, which Elliott settled after a goalless previous 104 minutes when his low shot somehow squirmed under the body of Gingerbreads' keeper Dan Haystead.
There is little chance of a rest for Rugby though, with another test of their UCL Premier Division South promotion credentials coming this Saturday at Wellingborough Town where Town will be looking to extend their nine-match unbeaten start to the season.
Saturday's hosts currently sit in fourth – one place above Rugby on goal difference although the Doughboys have played a game more.
Town are back in knockout action next Tuesday, when Leicester Nirvana visit Butlin Road in the League Cup.