LATE goals in both regulation and extra time were enough to edge Leamington past Chasetown in an FA Cup second qualifying round replay on Tuesday night.
The Brakes trailed to William Whieldon’s first-half strike up until the 95th minute of normal time when Josh March levelled affairs, with Jack Lane’s fortuitous strike proving the winner with just two minutes of extra time remaining.
It sets up a home tie against fellow National League North side Darlington in the third qualifying round, to be played in just over a week’s time on Saturday October 5.
Hosts Chasetown welcomed Paul Holleran’s men to Staffordshire on the back of a 2-2 draw in the original tie at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, where The Scholars recovered from March’s brace to set up the replay.
Unbeknown to the crowd of 339 gathered at The Scholars Ground, another thriller lay in wait in midweek, despite the turgid start to proceedings.
Chasetown were denied the opener with a rare chance early in the game, with Brakes keeper Jake Weaver stretching to tip George Cater’s goalbound effort onto the post and away.
Holleran’s side struggled to grasp a foothold in the first half and were eventually punished when Whieldon lashed a first-time strike into the top corner following a clearance from a corner, sending the hosts in at the break with the lead.
But despite an opportunity for the Leamington manager to raise his side with some words of wisdom at the interval, the balance of the game still appeared very much in Chasetown’s favour in the second half.
The hosts’ shot stopper Curtis Pond looked equal to whatever the Brakes could throw at him, on an evening that continued to spiral out of Leamington’s control following a straight red card for Joe Clarke.
A red card for the hosts followed with eight minutes remaining to restore equal numbers on the pitch, giving Leamington the incentive to level late on.
March was sent through on goal and managed to nick the ball underneath the onrushing Pond and into the net in the fifth minute of stoppage time, sparking delirium amongst the travelling Brakes support and forcing extra time.
Chasetown almost took the lead for a second time on the night early in extra time when a free kick from Levi Reid crashed against the crossbar and away.
March went close when meeting Lane’s cross from the left, with the latter then taking it upon himself to settle proceedings in the 118th minute.
Bringing the ball inside to bear down on goal, he lined up a shot that took two deflections off Chasetown defenders and left Pond wrongfooted as the ball rolled into the back of the net.
Weaver was called into action as Chasetown desperately tried to force penalties, but the Brakes held on to seal their progression.
Leamington visit Chester in the league on Saturday (3pm).