VIDEO NEWS: Wisbech through to third round

WISBECH Town are through to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup following a heroic performance at Redditch United on Saturday. A combination of clinical finishing and resolute defending gave Wisbech the edge against their opponents from the Conference

WISBECH Town are through to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup following a heroic performance at Redditch United on Saturday.

A combination of clinical finishing and resolute defending gave Wisbech the edge against their opponents from the Conference North and the Fenmen survived late pressure to win 3-2.

If the home fans at the Valley Stadium anticipated a comfortable win for the Reds then they were soon disappointed, and it was the travelling Fenmen supporters who were able to celebrate the first goal after just four minutes.

The ball was played in to the box from the right and Liam Nimmo produced a smart finish past Reds' keeper Richard Anstiss.

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A stunned Redditch defence struggled to cope with the raids of Nimmo, Liam Harrold, Darren Jimson and Stuart Cobb and three minutes later, Cobb weaved his way to the edge of the home box but was robbed of the ball just before he could pull the trigger.

The first threat to the Wisbech goal came on nine minutes when a cross from the right was met by Damian Whitcombe, whose first time shot was well saved by Nick Conroy.

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Any hopes of a home comeback were quickly distinguished by a second goal for the visitors on 19 minutes. In the Fenmen's next meaningful attack, Darren Jimson played in Liam Harrold who produced a sublime finish to lob the ball over the advancing Anstiss.

As the travelling support celebrated, Redditch attacked with more urgency but the Wisbech back line stood firm and restricted the home team to long-range efforts.

Reds' striker David Walker went close to scoring when his shot from the edge of the box whistled past Conroy's right hand post, and Chris Murphy also saw his shot from range fly wide.

But once again, Wisbech weathered the storm without looking likely to concede and their fans were soon on cloud nine when Harrold produced another fine finish.

Just before the half-hour, Wisbech broke up an attack and Harrold raced on to a long clearance before firing the ball past the keeper to score his second.

Redditch again tried to respond and they did force their way back in to the game on 36 minutes when full back Asa Charlton raced forward, cut in from the left and fired in from the edge of the box.

Less than a minute later, Reds' Carl Palmer went close to a second when he forced his way in to box but, to the relief of the visitors, saw his shot deflect up and over Conroy's bar.

Wisbech looked like they could score every time they attacked and Harrold came close to scoring a first-half hat-trick seven minutes before the break. Evaldo's cross from the right wing was met by the striker's volley just outside the box but the ball flew straight at Anstiss.

Predictably, the second half was all Redditch but the back four of Chris Dear, Andy Lodge, Evaldo and Martin McNeil, together with brilliant cover from Danny Hammond and skipper Steve Appleby kept the home side at bay.

Sam Alsop's right-footed shot from long range produced a spectacular tip over the bar from Conroy 15 minutes in to the half.

The home fans thought they had reduced the deficit on 19 minutes when the ball was poked-in from close range but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Conroy produced another good save from a free kick midway through the half and the Fenmen's defending became more desperate but equally effective as the Reds pushed forward.

The Wisbech fans' fingernails were chewed even more when Chris Murphy's effort deflected in off the underside of the bar with just five minutes left but it proved to be too little too late.

Wisbech manager Dick Creasey said: "It was a terrific performance from all the lads and everyone worked so hard to get the result. Results and performances like that are what the FA Cup is all about."

"We couldn't have got a better start and all three of our goals were very well taken. I told the lads at half time that they would be under severe pressure in the second half and that proved to be the case but every single player was heroic."

He added: "We had a game plan to get in to their faces further up the pitch and we did that but as the game went on we got deeper and deeper."

Wisbech's reward for their fine performance is another away tie in the third qualifying round against Alfreton Town or Solihull Borough.

Creasey said: "It is not a favourable draw and we know that it will be a very tough match, whoever we play."

The Redditch match proved costly in terms of injuries. Martin McNeil struggled with a dead leg and both Andy Lodge and Steve Appleby picked up niggles during the game.

However, Creasey hopes to have all three fit for Saturday's FA Vase first round match at Ely City. Danny Hussey will be available after completing a suspension and Dane Harper, who has signed a month-long extension to his loan contract, will also be available for selection.

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