Battling Swifts win their first-ever FA Cup tie
Battling Lutterworth Town came from behind to win their first ever FA Cup tie 2-1 against strong Derbyshire side Heanor Town, now of the East Midlands Counties League.
The Swifts left it late though, with the always threatening Tendai Daire placing the perfect, winning header into the bottom right corner with just five minutes remaining of normal time.
Afterwards, the crowd and a superbly well-motivated team celebrated as if they’d won the FA Cup itself, not just an Extra Preliminary Round.
But this was a great day for the club, with a crowd of more than 400, a competitive, entertaining match, a guest appearance in the crowd from England legend Paul Gascoigne – and of course, the right result.
It was Heanor who started the match strongest though, making good use of “route one” through balls on a hard, high-bouncing pitch.
From one of them, in the 27th minute, forward Jamie Sleigh simply turned to hook the ball passed Swifts keeper Warren Butlin, as defenders appealed vainly for offside.
Four minutes later, Sleigh could have had a second, but this time he lobbed the ball over both Butlin and the goal.
Lutterworth had equal possession, but fewer clear-cut chances.
It took a dropped up-and-under by Heanor keeper Cory Bowler in the 41st minute to ping-pong the ball back to Swifts forward Daire, only for his volley to be closed down by the Lions’ defence.
Lutterworth had to be better in the second half – and they were.
The breakthrough came just after the hour mark, when the tireless Lee Tyers, free on the left of the box, lobbed a brilliant equaliser over a bustling penalty area and into the top right hand corner, with everyone expecting a cross.
He was able to hug his dad Gary and other family members, who happened to be watching from just the right spot on the touchline.
There could only be one winner now, as Heanor suddenly looked a bit toothless up front, and the Swifts continued to press.
But it took a late cross from the left by Swifts’ captain Marshall Keenan to produce the happy ending of Daire’s clever downwards header.
“Great day for us” said Swifts boss Josh Dixon, after the match.
“We stepped the tempo up in the second half and got the right result. Hopefully a lot of this crowd will be back to see us again.”
“It feels like a reward for all our hard work” said chairman Andy Dixon. “Even better than promotion!”