Midhurst secured a place in the third round of the RUR Charity Cup in the most dramatic of circumstances with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over Littlehampton at the end of a 2-2 draw.
The first half-hour was ominous for Midhurst as Littlehampton were sharper and quicker but were unable to put the ball in the net.
When Littlehampton did go ahead it was courtesy of Midhurst midfielder Nazir Idris, who put the ball past Paul ‘Willo’ Williamson.
Ten minutes before half-time Jason Jarvis extended Littlehampton’s lead with a well-taken goal.
The second half, though, saw a complete change of fortune.
A goal for Midhurst looked certain when a robust tackle by Ross McKay brought down Garry Buller just outside the penalty area. But the Littlehampton keeper was well positioned to save Ian Saunders’ shot.
The first yellow card was shown to Littlehampton’s Adam Bibb.
Supporters then saw a piece of local football history when 16-year-old Oliver Pearce came on as a substitute. He was watched by his father Robert Pearce and grandfather Den Pearce, both of whom played for Midhurst.
A goal for Midhurst, scored by Buller on the hour, lifted the home supporters.
Soon a well-placed pass by Pearce gave Buller the chance to equalise.
Extra-time brought no further goals so penalties were needed.
Midhurst took the first and Dean Hilton-Lush beat John Hendricks in the Littlehampton goal.
Mitchel Hand converted for Littlehampton before Pearce netted for Midhurst.
Jason Jarvis took the second for Littlehampton but it was well saved by Williamson.
Penalties were converted for Midhurst by Steve Boston, Saunders and Liam Dreckman while Littlehampton used their keeper and he netted his – but the visitors could not score all of theirs so Midhurst went through.
They go to Oakwood or Steyning in the next round.
MIDHURST: Williamson, Page, Dummer, Idris, Browne, Saunders, Hyde, Boston, Buller, Castleton, Dreckman, Pearce, Hilton-Lush.
On Saturday Midhurst visit Little Common.