Sports emerged winners despite deservedly falling behind after 51 minutes. The manager with the Midas touch Jimmy Dean’s substitutions turned the game with replacements Dan Jarvis and Jim Stevenson claiming the goals which sent the city into the second qualifying round.
Sports finished the game so strongly they were worthy winners, but there was frustration and misfortune for the visitors who were eventually undone by a horrible decision from the officials, as well as some quick thinking from the home players, three minutes from time.
Dion Sembie-Ferris’s failure to control the ball under pressure should have led to a visiting throw-in. The body language of Sembie-Ferris gave that fact away. but the assistant referee flagged in favour of Sports and he wasn’t overruled. When Sembie-Ferris realised, he took a quick throw-in to full-back Matt Miles whose first-time cross was superbly finished first-time by Stevenson.
Cue bedlam. Visiting players charged at the assistant referee, prompting a reaction from Sports’ supporters. Beer from a plastic glass somehow appeared before order was restored. Yet on the final whistle a couple of Haringey players, unwisely, returned to the scene of the crime and a disappointing postscript to a pulsating contest played out, only with verbals thankfully.
It was a shame for Sports who attracted a fine crowd of 421 to the match. They really are a remarkable club who refuse to accept they’ve peaked despite regular promotions.
Haringey, Isthmian League high fliers, play at the same step three level and presented a tough challenge. After Mark Jones had missed a second-minute sitter from close range after a flowing move down the right, Haringey looked the stronger side and it took sone resolute defending from the likes of Richard Jones, Ryan Fryatt and Johnny Herd to keep them out.
Left-back Herd was really up against it against a marauding wingback in David Olufemi, but stopped numerous crosses. Goalkeeper Lewis Moat handled the crosses that did come into his area well and produced two excellent saves, the second after the ball travelled through several bodies.
A right-wing cross and a terrific flicked finish did give Haringey their 51st minute lead, but the Sports response was outstanding. Dean sent Jarvis, Stevenson and Gash on and the transformation was instant. Gash kept the ball alive in the opposition half which enabled the dangerous Sembie-Ferris to get into the game.
One cross had been helped over the bar by Josh Moreman from close range before the changes, but a deflected Sembie-Ferris centre from the left was expertly guided home on the volley by Jarvis on 67 minutes. Richard Jones headed a corner just wide, Jarvis just failed to free Gash into the area and another Sembie-Ferris cross was deflected over his own crossbar by a defender.
It looked like a replay neither side probably wanted was on the cards until a dozy assistant and some wide-awake attacking play saw Sports home.
The draw for the second qualifying round takes place on Monday (September 6) when the referee’s report, which might make interesting reading, will land at FA headquarters.
Peterborough Sports: Lewis Moat, Matt Miles, Johnny Herd, Ryan Fryatt, Richard Jones, Dan Lawlor, Josh McCammon (sub Jim Stevenson, 56 mins), Abduramane Saon Sani, Mark Jones (sub Michael Gash, 60 mins), Josh Moreman (sub Dan Jarvis 56 mins). Unused subs: Lewis Hilliard, Lewis Elsom. Kyle Rowell, Brad McGowan.