Phoenix Sports 1-1 Glebe (5-4 Pens)
I was hoping to visit a new ground at a Step 2 team in the midweek replays of the 2nd Qualifying round.
I had half a dozen potential targets, but they all managed to resolve their ties in ninety minutes. This left me with Phoenix Sports, my local team being the only feasible option for a replay.
At least this meant no travel plans were required.
Phoenix should have settled their tie on the Saturday, after throwing away a two goal lead to another local team Glebe.
It was to be the second time this season that I’d seen Glebe FC, having seen them win a league game just around the corner at Erith Town, a month ago.
Having already made the short walk to see Erith at Oakwood four times this season, it was nice to have an even shorter walk to Phoenix Sports Ground.
Even though the ground is so close to my home, this was my first visit since the 2015/16 season.
Since my last visit, a second stand has been erected, doubling the amount of seats available.
A healthy crowd of 183 was building, many of which were hoping to see Phoenix reach the 3rd Qualifying round for the first time in their history.
The game had the feel of a local derby, but was a slow burner, especially as far as Phoenix were concerned.
Glebe’s first effort was in the fifth minute when Luke Miller’s shot didn’t really trouble Phoenix keeper Steve Phillips.
Soon after, Glebe’s Joe Minter cleared a header off the line from a Phoenix corner.
Ten minutes later Minter almost opened the scoring, when his shot looped just over the Phoenix bar.
Harry Harding had a shout for a Glebe penalty when he looked to have been tripped in the 19th minute, but the referee was having none of it.
Glebe had been the better team, but it was Phoenix that went in at half time with the lead.
A fantastic strike by Kelvin Ogboe broke the deadlock in the first minute of injury time of the first half.
Jack Barham’s left footed effort to double Phoenix’s lead in the 52nd minute was saved by Glebe keeper Dean Nash.
Luke Miller tried to level the scores in the 56th minute, but his effort went wide.
He got his name on the scoresheet a minute later, when he beat Phillips, following a mix up in the Phoenix defence.
Fred Obasa almost put Glebe ahead straight after they had equalised, but he hit the side netting.
Glebe were probably the better side again in the second half, but the last ten minutes of the game turned into dramatic end to end battle.
Phoenix substitute Zak Bryon shot high over the Glebe bar, whilst Glebe sub Brian Zepo had his shot pushed around the post by the keeper.
Steve Phillips then made a point blank save from Glebe’s Steve Springett. His shot had come from the rebound of Tolu Jonah’s header onto the crossbar.
In the second minute of injury time Harry Harding’s dramatic overhead kick went straight into the hands of Phillips.
There was still time for a winner, but Philllips then denied Glebe’s Malik Ouani.
Glebe looked to be finishing strongly, while Phoenix looked tired, but they managed one final effort from Jack Hopkins, who shot over the bar.
Glebe keeper Dean Nash had taken a knock at some point, and was having to have his goal kicks taken by a defender.
I don’t know if this affected Phoenix psychologically, but they seemed to rally well and dominate in extra time.
Glebe were the first to have an effort on goal though. Luke Miller, who seemed to be the most creative player in their side, hit a high shot that was well saved by Phillips.
Jack Hopkins had a shot saved by the Glebe keeper in the 94th minute.
Nash then pushed Frank Sawyer’s shot from a tight angle around the post.
Just before the teams changed ends again, Ashley Probert hit a free kick for Phoenix just over the bar.
Hopkins and Bryon both had efforts wide for Phoenix in the last ten minutes, and the tide had turned. Glebe were hanging on for penalties, having dominated the first ninety minutes.
Tension was mounting, and the referee extended the night even longer, by lecturing both benches five minutes from time.
The sides couldn’t be separated, so it went to penalties.
Phoenix went first, and both they and Glebe scored their first two penalties..
Ashley Probets and Danny Young for Phoenix, Adrian Stone and Luke Miller for Glebe.
Dajon Golding missed for Phoenix, but Steve Springett failed to capitalised for Glebe, as Phillips saved his penalty, and the ball ran agonisingly across the goal and past the post.
The remaining two penalties each were all converted.
Conrad Lee and Jack Barham for Phoenix, and Brian Zepo and Malik Ouani for Glebe.
4-4 and now sudden death!
Richard Seixas made it 5-4 to Phoenix, but Jason Goodchild’s effort rattled the bar.
The tie had finally come to an end, and Phoenix keeper Phillips classily shook Goodchild’s hand before heading off to celebrate with his team mates.
It seemed a low key finish, but it had been a long night, and everyone looked shattered.
Phoenix Sports now enter new territory for them in the F.A. Cup, and hopefully they can go even further.
Just around the corner, there was a floodlight failure at Oakwood. This meant the VCD Athletic v Folkestone Invicta game was postponed.
There was no issue at Phoenix with the lights, and certainly no lack of electricity on the pitch thanks again to the magic of the F.A. Cup.
Our thanks again to Andy Phillips. Follow his many journeys on Twitter.