WHITE Horse (Sunday) FC’s fairytale journey in the Wiltshire Sunday Cup will continue, courtesy of a dramatic last-gasp quarter-final win over Swindon League side The Windmill FC.
In doing so, they kept the flag flying for the Chippenham & District Sunday League.
Having scored 48 goals between them in the previous three rounds it was no surprise that the net bulged seven times, the Horse claiming a late and dramatic 4-3 victory in the dying seconds.
Recent conditions at Leighton Sports Centre meant that this was the fourth time of asking for the two sides and, although they hadn’t kicked a ball since mid-December, unlike their hosts who had the minor advantage of two games in January, it was the visitors who started the brighter and looked the hungrier, despite the long trip.
It wasn’t long before Windmill’s greater desire shone through and they began asking questions, reaping the ultimate reward in just the 13th minute when Aaron Hellewell raced through and poked home via the inside of Rich Hunt’s far post.
Strength of character has never been in doubt for the home side over the last few years however, and it wasn’t long before they found themselves back on level terms despite not being at their best, Paul Beavers being put through one-on-one and making no mistake at the second time of asking.
As the game unfolded, both sides showed their attacking intent, with the visitors maintaining the slight upper-hand.
Deservedly it was the Swindon side that went in at the interval with the lead, courtesy of a sweetly-stuck 28th minute strike from the edge of the penalty area by Andy King.
White Horse began to create more chances of note in the second period, but not before Hellewell headed narrowly over in the opening minute of the half, a chance he would later regret not making more of.
The hosts introduced birthday boy Dave Appleyard into the game on the hour and with it the game became even more stretched, seemingly ensuring further goals.
Amazingly though, the contest entered the last 15 minutes with the guests still trailing by the odd goal in three, but it turned out that a frantic explosion of activity, that saw four more goals, was just around the corner.
Leading Horse scorer Dale Rowland restored parity with a deft finish, and two minutes later the game was turned on its head when Appleyard raced on to Tom Oakley’s sublime touch and finished smartly to send his side into the lead for the first time.
As time appeared to be running out on Windmill the game took a further twist when King wriggled his way into a shooting position and levelled things up at 3-3 with just a minute remaining on the clock.
Heads were far from down in the White Horse camp though and within seconds of the restart Rowland was denied by a last ditched goal line clearance.
Extra time was still to be avoided however, when Appleyard turned provider, his whipped in free kick headed home by Pete Ayton in the final seconds.
Having survived The Windmill’s final onslaught, Wiltshire Sunday Cup first-timers White Horse have now negotiated four rounds and face a semi-final trip to AFC Amesbury Athletic later this month in a bid to reach only their second-ever final in their 21-year history.
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