MATCH VERDICT: Spot-kick settles FA Cup derby
It could have been a very different story.
After five minutes of stoppage-time, Grantham Town looked relieved and 10-man Holbeach United reflected on going so close to an upset.
The Tigers’ first defeat of the season came courtesy of a controversial penalty against a team from two leagues above them.
Dan Dougill’s dismissal for an elbow in an aerial challenge seemed to have ended any hope for Holbeach with more than an hour to play.
They were already trailing to Lee Shaw’s effort and just five minutes later, the Gingerbreads also had a one-man advantage.
Lewis Leckie levelled from the spot, only for skipper Nick Jackson to be harshly penalised for a foul in first-half stoppage-time.
Andrew Wright stepped up to convert from 12 yards – but Grantham were hanging on to that lead until the final whistle sent them into the next round.
Leckie wasted two golden chances at 0-0 and 2-1 while his late strike was held by Kieran Preston.
Holbeach number one Rick Drury was busier than Preston all afternoon, although those second-half stops came after counter-attacks.
The Tigers tried everything to force a replay as Will Bird missed the target twice in the second half – including a chip from 40 yards.
Drury denied Wright and Jordan Hempenstall before Shaw saw an attempt bounce off the far post.
Drury had been beaten by Shaw at the near post just past the midway stage of the first half.
Dougill’s red card made it look mission impossible for the Tigers.
Leckie was fouled for the penalty which he blasted past Preston but the key decision came at the end of the opening period.
Tigers manager Seb Hayes made his feelings known while heading towards the dressing room at half-time.
Charley Sanders went too far in the referee’s view at the end of the game, apparently refusing to shake his hand and being shown a red card.
The frustrations boiled over following a series of strange decisions which the Tigers felt had gone against them.
Who knows, at 1-1 with 11 men on the pitch, they might have produced a shock. Instead, though, Grantham celebrated after getting a real scare.
4-4-2: Preston; Meadows, Baker, Galinksi, Thompson; Burrows (sub Potts 73 mins), Wright, Everington (sub Lewis 66 mins), Luke Shaw; Lee Shaw, Hempenstall (sub McMenemy 76 mins). Subs not used: Dasaolu, Curtis, Martin.
4-3-3: Drury; Griffiths, Tinkler (sub Smith h-t), Braithwaite, Jackson; Zuerner (sub Keeble 86 mins), Warfield, Dougill; Sanders, Leckie (sub Harker 89 mins), Bird.
Mr A Wilson.
Lee Shaw (23 mins, 1-0); Leckie pen (36 mins, 1-1); Wright pen (45 mins, 2-1).
Dougill (serious foul play); Sanders (dissent).
Tinkler, Everington (fouls); Drury (unsporting behaviour).
George Zuerner – impressed against his former club.
More by this authorMark Lea