“How big is your heart?” That is what Stamford AFC manager Graham Drury asked each of his players after letting a 2-0 lead slip against Wrexham on Tuesday night to set-up extra time in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round replay.
Lee Beeson gave Stamford the lead from the penalty spot just before the break and then Kern Miller doubled it with a stunning volley in the 78th minute. But the Daniels were pegged back, first by Shaun Harrad with a volley of his own three minutes from full time and then by a blast from distance by impressive substitute Jordan Evans in the 92nd minute.
Drury said: “I thought we had done it in the 90 minutes, and the 92nd minute goal just took so much out of us. You are so high and then you are so low when those goals go in, but all credit to those players today.”
Drury said: “I patted them all on the chest and said how big is your heart? Because that is all we have talked about in these games. I said to them constantly can we break Wrexham’s heart? Are our hearts big enough? Can we run that extra mile, can we dig in when we are off our feet and they did just that.”
Against the run of play in the 103rd minute Jake Duffy curled a free kick over the wall to win the tie and spark wild celebrations.
Drury added: “They chased and they hassled, and there were a couple of quality goals as well.
“It was all hands to the pump and they defended in numbers today my boys, and they never gave up and that’s a sign of great character isn’t it. One to 19 I just can’t fault them.
“All in all what a fantastic cup adventure.”
Stamford set-up the replay having draw drawn 1-1 in front of a record crowd of 1,264 at the Zeeco Stadium on Saturday.
Harrad scored in just the fourth minute for the Red Dragons and Beeson replied from the penalty spot after the break.
Stamford’s success at the Racecourse Stadium midweek means they will play Hartlepool United in the first round proper, which is the furthest the club have ever reached in the competition in their 120-year history. “We have made history, the club have never done this before. I am so proud as a gaffer to be able to give them that,” said Drury.
And the manager, who took the reins at Stamford back in December last year, was in a confident mode ahead of their first round match against League Two Hartlepool.
He said: “Definitely - 100 per cent we can beat Hartlepool. I have got no doubt in my mind that we can beat Hartlepool. We have got to have a game plan, we have got to be ugly and get in faces, we have got to have that tempo but with that belief in the changing room we can do it.”
The Daniels will travel to Hartlepool on November 5.