Arlesey Town through in FA Cup after seven-goal thriller against Thetford
- Credit: NEIL METCALFE
Arlesey Town are through to the next round of the FA Cup after dispatching Thetford Town 4-3 in the extra-preliminary round.
A double from Archie Sayer had put them ahead early in both halves but both times they allowed the visitors to come back almost immediately.
However, they responded positively after the second equaliser and Jalen Miller and Herculano Carvalho sent them into the next round where they will host Bugbrooke St Michaels on August 21.
Thetford's day had started with a late arrival at New Lamb Meadow, their bus not pulling into the car park until after 2pm, and then the team sheet was only presented moments before kick-off.
And Arlesey took full advantage of any disarray by taking the lead on six minutes.
They had already given the visitors a warning with a ball over the top that keeper Frank Gammon just got to ahead of Sayer but minutes later the striker gathered a similar ball and after sitting the keeper down, he rolled it into an unguarded net.
But they were guilty of switching off just four minutes later.
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A free-kick on the right wing just inside the Arlesey half was taken quickly and after a cross from Jake Mann, Bernardo Felgueiras bundled it home at the far post.
Thetford were ungainly at times but it was causing Arlesey to work incredibly hard to secure the ball.
And when the home side had it, they looked very likely to make something happen.
A couple of crosses had flashed across the face of goal before the Blues had two golden chances in the space of a few minutes.
Herculano Carvalho beat the offside trap again for the first one and with plenty of support he found Sayer again down the left of the box.
His first shot was kicked away by Gammon but rolled back to the striker who instead of shooting again opted to roll it across goal.
Unfortunately it was too far in front of Lincoln Gilmartin and the chance went begging.
The second opportunity was created after Jalen Miller cut in from the right but although it was forced goalwards, Thetford were able to scramble it clear.
A third opportunity was skewed wide by Ryan Lamond, the only thing not executed correctly after a superb mazy run.
They were hit by the need to restructure when Shayan Ghamarinezhad was forced off with injury on 32minutes but at the start of the second half, Thetford too had needed the use of their bench.
And like the first half, the second period began with an Arlesey goal.
Gilmartin provided the exquisite flick over his head to set up Sayer but while the assist was pure silk, the finish was unadulterated power, thumped off the underside of the bar and in.
But again the lead was short-lived.
A corner from the left wasn't dealt with by Ryan Hilliard and when it bounced out, Nathan Clarke belted it in with the aid of a deflection.
This time though Arlesey had a response of their own and 10 minutes later they led by two.
Substitute Jesus Mendoza provided the surging run down the right and his low cross was tapped in by Miller.
And it was a foul on Miller that brought Arlesey's fourth, Carvalho leaving the keeper standing as he dispatched the penalty into the corner.
Sayer almost had a hat-trick, Clarke producing a fantastic block tackle as the striker gathered another excellent Mendoza cross, and then Gilmartin turned and fired over.
But Thetford were never truly out of it and should have had a third when Ryan Fuller found himself unmarked just yards in front of goal.
His header though was tame and claimed by Hilliard.
There were a couple of possible goal chances for either side as the game came to a close but when Thetford did pounce, Fuller knocking in from close range, it was three minutes into injury time and almost the final kick.
Arlesey Town: Hilliard, Lamond, Ghamarinezhad (Mendoza 32), Brito, Hoxa, Randall, Miller, Alves, Sayer, Gilmartin (Setchell 80), Carvalho (Millett 89).
Subs (not used): Revels, Feyi, Ley.
Goals: Sayer 6, 48, Miller 54, Carvalho (pen) 62
Booked: Alves 86
Thetford Town: Gammon, Bond (Varela 46), Cusack, Smith, Clarke, L.Bailey, Visocanskis R.Bailey, Fuller, Felgueiras, Mann (Delaune 67).
Subs (not used): Williams, Rodgers.
Goals: Felgueiras 10, Clarke 52, Fuller 90+3
HT: Arlesey Town 1 Thetford Town 1