Cheltenham Town created a moment in history with a 2-1 (aet) victory over Hereford tonight and will now face Everton in the next round.
The Robins pushed aside their poor record versus a stubborn Hereford but this night will go down as one of the many great night for supporters and players alike. Shaun Harrad's penalty had been ruled out by Sam Clucas but Kaid Mohamed scored the winner deep into injury time to win the game.
The first half was even enough with Cheltenham controlling possession well when they needed to but it was Hereford had perhaps the better chances in the first period with Scott Brown called upon to make a fantastic save from Clucas in the final few minutes. It was however Cheltenham's lead at the break after Gallinagh brought down McGlashan in the box allowing Shaun Harrad to score an emphatic penalty past Bittner. The second half began with Hereford really pushing and they grabbed an equaliser through a Clucas cross which evaded everyone before settling into the bottom corner. It ended all square and deep into injury time we went but it was the head of Kaid Mohamed that won the game for Cheltenham and wrote this result into the history books.
Cheltenham Town will play Everton at home in the next round after flying the Ruby flag at Edgar Street tonight.
There was only one change this evening from the side that defeated Northampton Town 3-2 at the weekend and it was Keith Lowe who was replaced by Jermaine McGlashan as the Robins plotted a safe passage into the FA Cup third round v. Everton. It was a flexible formation ready for a tough Edgar Street challenge. The Bulls included former Robins Andy Gallinagh and Brian Smikle in their starting eleven and there was another familiar face in the form of Marley Watkins occupying the bench. It was a tense night in which quite honestly anything could happen.
You could feel the atmosphere in the stadium at kick off and Hereford gave their fans a boost with the first effort on goal although it was a soft and comfortable save for Brown. Cheltenham had a corner earlier on and Zebroski was inches away from finding a shot in goal as a scramble ensued but it was cleared for safety. Cheltenham were by far the more adventurous side going forward in the early stages and Hereford suffered a blow early on when top striker Ryan Bowman was removed due to injury and replaced by Phil Marsh. Hereford's first real effort came through Sam Clucas who picked up possession on the left wing and drove himself towards goal before unleashing a low strike from 20 yards but Brown was equal to it and the scores remained level.
A Chris Zebroski effort midway through the half signalled Cheltenham's intentions but the Robins attack were hard fought to find the space they needed to land the attempts on target they needed. Russ Penn had to receive treatment for a nasty looking collision but the solid midfielder soon returned to his feet and got back involved. It was a real battle in midfield with both sides sticking strong tackles in but still Hereford sat deep defending well against Cheltenham's attack. Darren Carter did record a shot on target from a freekick 25 yards from goal but in truth it was comfortable for Bittner in goal. Will Evans was up next to get a shot in on goal, this time for Hereford and it was a decent strike from 30 yards but it was wide of goal and Brown was able to let it run past. Cheltenham created the best chance on goal up to this point with Jake Taylor whipping in a deep cross and it was met by the head of McGlashan but his looping effort was tipped over by Bittner. Hereford hit back minutes later when Marsh thumped a low cross into the danger zone but Brown made a good save at Smikle's feet to deny the former Cheltenham winger.
Cheltenham may well have been the better side in this half but they needed Scott Brown in his finest form to deny Hereford and Sam Clucas an opener. The midfielder found possession on the far left and smashed a shot in goal only to be denied by the left glove of Scott Brown - a magnificent save. That save gave Cheltenham the boost they needed and, in injury time, they were handed a foothold when McGlashan slipped past Gallinagh and the former Robin brought the winger down with a clumsy foul in the area. The penalty was awarded and Shaun Harrad stepped up before scoring an emphatic penalty past Bittner for the lead.
Half Time: Hereford United 0-1 Cheltenham Town
The fog began to descend upon Edgar Street as play resumed in the second period and it was clear that Martin Foyle had been having words at half time with his side. The Bulls were certainly stronger in the tackle and midfield but Cheltenham were giving as good as they could get. Another former Robin joined the fray early on in the half as Marley Watkins replace Will Evans. The opening effort of this game came through Sam Clucas who fired in a decent effort following a Hereford freekick but again it was comfortable for Brown. Watkins was booked soon after that attempt after he dragged down Russ Penn through frustration.
Mark Yates made his first change of the evening with Marlon Pack replacing the now heavily booed Jermaine McGlashan and that was followed soon after by the introduction of Darryl Duffy in place of Shaun Harrad. Hereford continued to push and they finally got the goal they sought when Clucas, a constant menace, fiired in a long cross and struck lucky with it evading everyone and hopping into the back of the net for 1-1. A lucky goal maybe but Hereford did not care one bit.
Kaid Mohamed was brought on at the expense of Russ Penn as the game ticked on with Cheltenham now the team attacking the heaviest. A Jake Taylor strike did little to test Bittner and the game continued to pulsate at an even nature and three minutes were added to the 90. Cheltenham could have snatched it after Elliott's header from the long throw was cleared off the line but the Bulls were desperate and they lived on into extra time.
Full Time: Hereford United 1-1 Cheltenham Town (extra time to come)
Both teams were even at the beginning of extra time and it was becoming increasingly obvious that the result could go either way. Cheltenham controlled possession largely as Hereford set up in a solid fashion. Cheltenham were given a chance on goal late on in this period of extra time after Stam fouled Zebroski 20 yards from goal but Jake Taylor's set piece was over and the whistle was blown to end the 15 minutes.
Extra Time First Period: Hereford United 1-1 Cheltenham Town
The atmosphere in this game was tense but superb and Cheltenham could have lifted the roof off Edgar Street had Elliott been able to beat Bittner with his header from Jones' corner but the Hereford goalkeeper was equal to it. Marlon Pack almost created an opportunity too but Hereford were defending for their lives and there was a real sense of tenacity amongst the Bulls. An ambitious Marlon Pack strike missed the target but it was Kaid Mohamed who may have written himself into the Cheltenham Town history books. A Billy Jones cross amongst big pressure from the Robins found the winger and his glancing header struck the post and settled into the back of the net. The Cheltenham fans went mad as the players celebrated alongside them - magic moment.
The clock ticked, the moment grew and the final whistle blew. Cheltenham had won and will play Everton in the FA Cup third round.
Extra Time Second Period and Final Score: Hereford United 1-2 Cheltenham Town
Hereford United FC (4-4-2): Bittner (GK); Gallinagh (Perry, Stam (C) Graham, Heath; Smikle, O'Keefe, Pell, Clucas; Evans (Watkins 49), Bowman (Marsh 17)
Subs not used: Hanford (GK), McQuilkin
Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2): Brown (GK); Jombati, Bennett (C), Elliott, Jones; McGlashan (Pack , Carter, Penn (Mohamed , Taylor; Zebroski, Harrad (Duffy
Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Lowe, Deering, D'Ath.
Referee: Mr. Dean Whitestone
Robins Star Man: Billy Jones - Superb throughout and bagged an assist. His crossing was excellent today but credit to all the players who made their club proud tonight.