Posted: 01.09.20 at 23:57 by Derek Davis
It was a night of firsts as Brantham witnessed a night of drama in the Imps' FA Cup tie with Benfleet, who were playing in the competition for the first time in their 99-year history.
Michael Brothers' side edged the Essex club to give him his first win in in the world's greatest cup competition as a manager in his own right, after 17-year-old substitute Tom Watkins scored with his first touch in his first ever FA Cup match.
Benfleet equalised through Ben Foord for the club's first ever FA Cup goal to set up a first straight to penalties shoot out as the game had to be finished on the night with no extra time or replays.
The game was eventually won by the cheekiest of cheeky chips as centre half Stefano Mallardo cooly deceived Benfleet keeper by dinking the ball straight down the middle of the goal to spark unbridled celebrations.
Patrick Brothers had got the penalties off to a good start with an emphatic finish, Imps keeper Andrew Plummer made two excellent saves for Brantham, but more misses took the tie to the last kick.
Manager Michael's blushes were spared and he praised his players for getting the team through.
"No one would have expected to see a centre half come up and score like that," said Brothers. "You would normally just expect them them to toe punt it, but he said he was always going to do that and he did.
"t was was also special for the young lad Tom to come and score with his first touch. He has the ability and it is all about being in the right place.
"For a club at our level to play in a national competition is huge and you never know when you get another chance so you have to make the most of it."
The £1,125 prize money for winning through, with a further £1,444 waiting if they win their next round at Great Wakering Rovers, (£481 for the losers) it was an important night fo the Imps.
Brothers said: "Considering we went out at this stage last year we knew we had to make up for that, even without any pressure from the club.
"Any type of money coming into the club, especially after Covid, is massive at our level.
"We don't have massive support but the money that comes in helps and while we would love to have more people here it was lovely to see so many and it is great for the village."
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