Gash grabs the glory against his old club as Peterborough Sports create club history in the FA Trophy
It was a sweet moment for Gash who fired home from close range to seal a 1-0 win against National League side Kidderminster Harriers – one of his former clubs – to send Sports into the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy for the first time.
Kidderminster had won all four of their games following the appointment of charismatic former Premier League boss Phil Brown so 601 fans witnessed a big shock.
Lillianna Armstrong reports…
It was a fairy tale ending for Sports and their player manager Michael Gash who was the hero in the 93rd minute as they overturned National League side Kidderminster Harriers at PIMS Park. Despite being lower ranked than their counterparts, ‘The Turbines’ dominated the game throughout and nicked the win in the dying embers.
Sports named an unchanged XI from their 1-1 draw with Chester in midweek, while Kidderminster made several changes from the side that beat Oxford City 3-2 in their previous game with Ashley Hemmings, Amari Morgan-Smith, Jack Lambert and Shane Byrne all dropping to the bench from the starting XI.
It was evident from the first minute the hosts were up for this tie as they came out of the blocks fast and had the best of the early chances. On four minutes, forward Ben Fowkes was able to twist and turn in the area and fire a left footed effort towards goal, but Tom Palmer made a good save to deny him.
A few moments later, Zak Brown saw an effort well saved by Peter Crook at the other end. Chances continued to fall for Sports, in particular Josh McCammon was played through nicely on 44 minutes, but Kidderminster’s Christrian Oxlade-Chamberlain, brother of former Liverpool player Alex, was able to get back in the nick of time to block the shot that soon followed.
The game became more open in the second half and Kidderminster certainly began to grow into the action.
Sports’ striker Kaine Felix saw an effort well saved by Palmer on 51 minutes and then a minute later, defender Rory McAuley was gifted a free header from a corner, but sent his effort just over the bar.
There was a decent chance for Kiddy’s Kai Lissimore on 63 minutes as he was able to drive through a sea of bodies and send an effort just over the bar .
As the game looked to be heading to a penalty shootout, it was meant to be that former Kidderminster player Gash was to score the winner and it came in the last minute of added time.
Felix did brilliantly to get to the ball from a clearance, beat his man and drive down the right hand side towards goal. What followed was a pinpoint cross which found Gash in acres of space in the box and he was able to take a touch and smash the ball past Palmer. The hosts then did enough to see out the game and book their place in the quarter finals.
Joint-manager Luke Steele said: “It was like an out of body experience scoring in the last minute like that. I am so proud of the players, we had our chances and defended so well.”
It was a second National League scalp for Sports, who play in the division below, as they won on penalties at Dagenham & Redbridge in an earlier round.
Peterborough Sports (5-3-2): Crook 7; McCammon 7, Fryatt 8, Fox 7, McAuley 8 (Sub Johnson 90+1’ 6), Felix 8; Ahui 7, Alban-Jones 7, Jarvis 7 (Sub Lawlor 85’ 6); Fowkes 7 (Overton 65’ 6), Gash 8. Subs not used: Elsom, Nicholson, Miles & Tootle
Kidderminster Harriers (5-3-2): Palmer 6; Penny 6, Pearce 6, Harper-Bailey 6; Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Lissimore 7, Hesketh 6 (Sub Hemmings 69’), Brown 6 (Byrne 45’), Richards 6; Omotayo 7, Bellis 6 (Sub Morgan-Smith 59’).Subs not used: Hall, Dibble & Lambert