Warrington Town had to dig deep from the first whistle in order to hold onto a huge 1-0 victory over Exeter last night.
This was a huge event for the non-league side. Not only had they battled thoroughly to reach the first round of the FA Cup, but their home tie against League Two side Exeter was being broadcast to the nation on BBC Two.
It was a genuinely equal start from both sides as there were early chances at each end in the opening five minutes. But Chris Robinson was the man who connected to a delicious corner to nod in from close range, giving the underdogs an unbelievable lead to get the game truly started.
Warrington Town began their FA Cup run in the Preliminary Round against Barton Town Old Boys where they easily saw off the Lincolnshire based side in a 4-1 thrashing. However, tonight's tie proved that it wasn't as easy as the beginning of the road as the home side had to dig in deep and then some more to escape a nail-biting prison of tension.
Ever since the goal, another strike looked to hang in the favour of Exeter when David Noble's prestigious volleyed effort thundered against the upright. The second half was another task in itself and the defending became more desperate, the first case of which coming from a goal line scramble where Ashley Grimes' shot was cleared off the line.
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Chris Robinson, the goalscorer amongst his fellow defenders persisted in their whole-hearted attempts to keep the visitors at bay when they were throwing their bodies in dangerous areas and in front of the ball. It seemed that anything other than the ball ending up in the back of the net was acceptable for the hosts and the defending may not have been pleasant in areas, but it was certainly efficient.
As the full time whistle agonisingly approached, Exeter's attempts to pinch an equaliser were looking more and more likely but as the chance of a draw increased, so did the urgency of a defending which seemed to escalate to a different level. The most significant of this was once again in the favour of Chris Robinson who hurled his figure in the way of a desperate Ashley Grimes effort.
To the huge delight of the Warrington faithful, the full time whistle blew, sparking a pitch invasion. Once more for the Grecians, they have failed to reach the third round of the competition since a thorough effort against Manchester United in 2005 when they took the European giants to a replay which they were unsuccessful in.
Shaun Reid, brother of FA Cup winner Peter in charge of Warrington Town praised his team highly after the game. "I've got no words at the moment. The effort the lads put in on that pitch today was superb and I don't think I can possibly repay them in any way for that" as the delighted manager chuckled.
Warrington will now enter the second round as the lowest rated team on paper as they look for another stern competition where they can cause another huge upset before the big boys come into the equation in round three.