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FA Cup: Wonder goal ends Poole's cup quest at Tatnam
A BLISTERING 25-yard strike from Louie Theophanous shattered Poole Town’s FA Cup dream as Staines held out with nine men for a place in the first round proper.
The visitors’ top scorer sent an unstoppable effort flying past Nick Hutchings after being fed the ball by constant menace Sanchez Ming from the right hand side to settle a cagey yet keenly-contested tie at Tatnam.
Swans saw their skipper Lewis Ferrell dismissed with 14 minutes to play for hauling back Jon Davies when clean through on goal before Jordaan Brown also saw red for a second booking a minute from the end.
But Poole just could not force the equaliser their plucky play deserved after failing to show the necessary punch that would surely have led to glory with a two-man advantage and extra-time in the offing.
With so much at stake, both teams took time to open up. Theophanous almost caught out the home side when he latched onto a quick throw and darted inside but skipper Will Spetch managed to lash the ball away.
The visitors created the first meaningful opening on 19 minutes when marauding right-back Ming drilled across goal for Louis Rae-Beadle to draw a point-blank save from Nick Hutchings, with Troy Ferguson unable to stretch far enough to find the empty net at the far post.
The Conference South outfit were turning the screw but despite the increased tempo, Poole remained resolute and began to create opportunites on the break.
Marvin Brooks cut back for Ekow Elliott to centre for Warren Byerley midway through the first half but his effort was charged down by experienced former Swindon defender Jerel Ifil.
Steve Devlin’s set-piece delivery continued to cause problems with Brown almost flicking into his own net from an inswinging corner before being bailed out by team-mate Ming on the line to maintain parity at the interval.
Preston’s driving run from his own half was halted by Brown who picked up his first booking five minutes after the restart while Devlin’s deep free kick found Brooks who could only nod into the grateful arms of Kyle Merson.
The game briefly opened up and Preston’s burst and cross sought Cherries loanee Jordan Chiedozie, a half-time substitute, at the far post but an excellent clearance from Ashley Lodge snuffed out the danger.
Both sides became increasingly ragged in seeking the killer ball with Devlin again in the thick of the action, finding Elliott on the right who beat Bajram Pashaj before his cross-shot flew harmlessly away.
But just as Dolphins seemed to be settling to the task, they were given a lesson in finishing from Theophanous who took a touch from Ming’s tidy lay off before taking a neat touch and firing a thunderbolt past Hutchings into the top left corner.
It was a goal that would have been worthy of winning any cup tie, but Poole were handed a lifeline with 14 minutes to play when Jon Davies latched onto a ball over the top before being hauled back by Ferrell on the edge of the area with only Merson to beat.
The visiting skipper was immediately dismissed and Poole boss Tom Killick quickly threw defender Spetch forward with Chiedozie in search of a late equaliser.
But despite Poole’s extra man, it was Staines who should have sealed the deal with seven minutes to go.
Stephane Ngamvoulou found the feet of Ferguson in acres of space, but his close-range finish was brilliantly blocked by the flailing foot of Hutchings and Dolphins lived to fight another day.
The hosts pushed to make the most of their reprieve and almost leveled when Devlin’s left-wing centre found Chiedozie but his thumping header was straight at Merson.
It seemed set up for a glorious finish when Brown became the second player to be dismissed after being booked for his deliberate handball in an innocuous midfield area.
From the resultant free kick, Devlin’s floated delivery was headed back into the danger zone by Brooks for Chiedozie to flash a shot wide as the clock struck 90.
But that was as good as it got as the visitors, to their credit, hacked everything back downfield during the four minutes of added time to hold out for a plum local derby with League One Brentford in the first round.
Dolphins: Hutchings 8, Brooks 8, Spetch 8, Cummings 7 (Dibba, 82), Whisken 7, Pettefer 8.5, Davies 7.5 (Charles, 90), Devlin 8.5, Byerley 6.5 (Chiedozie, h-t, 7.5), Preston 7.5, Elliott 7.
Unused subs: Oliver, Richardson, Turner, Thomas (g/k).
Staines: Merson, Ming, Brown, Ngamvoulou, Ferrell, Ifil, Lodge, Ferguson, Theophanous (Felix, 79), Beadle (Akinsanya, 66), Worsfold (Pashaj, 62).
Unused subs: Neville, Akokhia, Taylor, Turner (g/k).
Sent off: Ferrell, Brown.
Referee: Nigel Lugg (Chipstead).
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