VERDICT - Ar Tarn advance after an incredible tie
Desborough Town will take their place in tomorrow's (Monday) FA Vase third round draw after a breathless afternoon at the Waterworks Field saw them eventually get past Pinxton to the tune of an incredible 7-4 scoreline.
If the Football Association needed to advertise the Vase and what it represents then they need only show someone this game because it had everything.
Those in attendance, including a big following from the Derbyshire club, witnessed what will surely have been the tie of the round as Ar Tarn and their visitors landed punch-after-punch on each other until Chris Bradshaw’s team finally found the knockout blow in extra-time.
In truth, there was little sign of the drama that would follow during an first half that Pinxton undoubtedly edged.
Ar Tarn goalkeeper Chris Jones spilled an early shot from Cameron Short and then held an effort from Jay Cooper, who was impressive throughout for Pinxton.
Desborough went close when former Kettering Town man Andy Hall forced visiting goalkeeper Andy Francis into a good save before another effort was blocked.
And it was the hosts who got their noses in front on 24 minutes when John Dean got clear in the left channel and his cross was turned into his own net by Paul Holmes.
That was harsh on the visitors and they deservedly levelled before the break when Adie Whitmore met a Danny Evans corner with a well-placed side-footed volley which found the corner.
And Pinxton came out of the traps quickly after the break as two goals inside the first two minutes of the restart looked to have settled the tie.
Half-time substitute Pete Stubley made his mark just 24 seconds in, picking up the ball 35 yards from goal and beating Jones with a fine long-range effort.
And Desborough’s hopes looked to be over barely 60 seconds later when Whitmore beat Jones to head home.
From there, Pinxton set about trying to kill the game and, for a long time, it worked as Desborough grew in frustration.
But, with 19 minutes to go, a ray of hope. Jason Turner, who had been fairly quiet up until this point, produced a perfect cross from the left and Hall charged in to convert at the far post. Game on.
Turner had a shot blocked with the striker adamant it had been done with a hand but Ar Tarn did draw level with five minutes to go when a corner was cleared but sent back into the box and it eventually landed at the feet of Leo Adams who hammered home from 15 yards.
That surely meant extra-time, but both teams had different ideas.
Francis beat out a near-post shot from Aidan Bradshaw before Pinxton looked like they had struck the decisive blow right on 90 minutes.
A cross from the right wasn’t dealt with and Cooper produced a measured finish into the corner to spark wild celebrations amongst the visiting players and supporters.
But Desborough kept going and the remarkable tie took yet another twist in the last of five minutes of stoppage-time when Francis dropped a cross from the left and Turner, ever the predator, was there to stab home.
It was a lifeline Desborough were not about to wasted in the extra 30 minutes as Pinxton were left visibly shell-shocked by that dramatic equaliser.
Hall put the hosts 5-4 up with a fine 20-yard free-kick and, after Jones had made an excellent stop from Stubley, Dean put the game to bed when he slid in to convert Hall’s cross.
The second period of extra-time proved to be a formality and a superb tie was rounded off when Dean raced away before unselfishly squaring to Turner who did the rest.
An outstanding tie full of everything you’d want, unless you are a defensive coach of course!
And, or Desborough boss Chris Bradshaw, it was mission accomplished - eventually.
He said: “I thought we were poor in the first 45 minutes.
“They surprised me because they came here to win and we never really coped with it. We were the team who changed formation five minutes before half-time.
“I thought they would tire and we would get into the game but they came out and scored two goals in a minute.
“But then we woke up and we showed some quality and we showed massive character.
“After getting back to 3-3 we were looking at extra-time but then they score a fourth and that should have been the game done.
“But we showed character to keep going and we got the goal and then in extra-time, it wasn’t really a contest because they were on their knees.
“It was like the good, the bad and the ugly and we are through which was the aim.
“We are not a rich club so every round that we win helps put some finances into the club and we can look forward to the draw.”
Desborough: Jones; Bell (sub Walpole, 109 mins), A Davies, Adams; Bradshaw, White, Arnold (sub McInally, 65 mins), Hall, Burgess; Turner, Dean. Subs not used: Ogilvie, G Davies.
Pinxton: Francis; Green, Whitmore, Holmes, Evans; Cooper, Riley, Short, Hawkins (sub Booker, 79 mins); Benger (sub Cooke, 83 mins), Debrouwer (sub Stubley, h-t).
Referee: Alec Simpson.
Goals: Holmes og (24 mins, 1-0), Whitmore (32 mins, 1-1), Stubley (46 mins, 1-2), Whitmore (47 mins, 1-3), Hall (71 mins, 2-3), Adams (85 mins 3-3), Cooper (90 mins, 3-4), Turner (90 mins, 4-4), Hall (98 mins, 5-4), Dean (105 mins, 6-4), Turner (111 mins, 7-4).
Bookings: Arnold (unsporting behaviour), Hawkins (dissent), Short, Green, Cooper, Riley (all fouls).