Broadbridge Heath manager Steve Painter described their 8-7 penalty shoot-out victory over Crowbrough as the biggest roller coaster of his management career.
Ten-man Heath hit back from 2-0 down to level things and again had to level at 3-3 before full-time after goalkeeper Michael Chester was also sent off in the Senior Cup clash.
Heath levelled again at 4-4 in the second period of extra-time to send the game to penalties where stand-in goalkeeper Martyn Flack saved two spot kicks before Adam Wicking netted the winner.
Painter heaped praise on the character shown by his side against the odds and said: “It was the biggest roller coaster of a game I have had as a manager. The character our lads showed was phenomenal. One thing I said to them at 1-0 down at half-time, was we would win it if we showed the right character.
“We went 2-0 down shortly after half-time and all the team talk goes out the window, but full credit to them. If anyone has ever questioned the character of the lads I have, it should never be questioned again after that.
“We deserved it as well, even with ten men we were on a par with them and it wasn’t a smash and grab.”
After trailing to a 20th-minute speculative effort from 35 yards, a mix-up between Chester and Flack gifted the hosts a second.
Ollie Moore pulled one back and Merv Bhujun then levelled with 20 minutes left. Chester was then sent off and Crows netted from the resulting penalty, before Scott Weller again levelled late on.
In extra-time, Crows again went ahead and Flack pulled off a fine save to keep Heath in the match, before Tiago Andrade hit a fourth to send the game to penalties.
On the toils of the evening, Painter added: “To be fair to Michael Chester, it was not a sending off. Their player was going away from goal and the ref had a shocker all night if you want the truth.
“Michael was down after the game but he has been absolutely brilliant for us and there is no blame on him whatsoever win, lose or draw - none of it was his fault.
“I did come out with a bit of classic quote. When they saved Ollie Moore’s penalty which was unusual as he normally is clinical, I turned to Steve Whiting my assistant and said that they would have to miss a couple as I couldn’t expect Martyn to save one - he then saved two on the bounce!”
Steyning’s first-round tie at home to Selsey was postponed by the match referee at 6.30pm on Tuesday owing to a waterlogged pitch.
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