The FA Cup took centre stage as teams had one final hurdle before reaching the coveted third round and possible Premier League opposition. The second round served us with plenty of big moments, so let’s have a look at how it unfolded!
Amond spares Newport’s blushes with late winner at Maldon & Tiptree
Newport County are associated with FA Cup giant killings, with their most recent being Premier League side Leicester City last season. However, it was their turn to be the giants when they travelled to eighth-tier Maldon & Tiptree on Friday night.
Despite the four-division gap, the Isthmian League North Division side took Newport all the way in an end-to-end tie. The Exiles should’ve taken the lead on 16 minutes but Tristan Abrahams’ close-range attempt was blocked by Lance Akins.
Stephane Ngamvoulou came close for the hosts in the second half, forcing goalkeeper Nick Townsend to tip his 30-yard effort over the crossbar. Newport striker Padraig Amond fired a header into the far bottom corner to break Maldon hearts in added time. The striker has now scored eight goals in the last two cup campaigns for County.
Newport’s attention now switches back to revitalising their League Two playoff push when they travel to Bradford City this Saturday. The third-round draw sees the Exiles travel to Championship Millwall in January.
Rotherham produce remarkable late comeback at Solihull Moors
The final game of the weekend was a thrilling encounter as League One Rotherham United visited non-league Solihull Moors.
Solihull raced into a two-goal lead inside eight minutes courtesy of Jamey Osborne and Alex Gudger. The two teams were separated by 46 places, but Solihull made that gap look irrelevant as Jimmy Ball extended their lead on 62 minutes. The hosts looked comfortable but the final 15 minutes showed why the FA Cup is the best knockout competition in world football.
Rotherham created very few chances so Freddie Ladapo’s close-range volley on 76 minutes appeared to be a consolation. Three minutes later Michael Ihiekwe’s curling effort reduced the deficit to a single goal. Striker Michael Smith headed in from close range to equalise in 88 minutes before completing the comeback in similar fashion in added time.
Rotherham’s reward for their comeback is a home tie against local rivals Hull City of the Championship.
Rochdale, Exeter & Crewe taken to replays by non-league opposition
AFC Fylde are the only non-league side definitely through to the third round after a 2-0 victory away at Kingstonian. Jim Bentley’s side are joined by three non-league teams who managed to take EFL opposition to replays.
Boston United of the National League North held League One Rochdale to a goalless draw at Spotland. There is an added incentive heading into the replay, as the winners will host Premier League team Newcastle United.
Hartlepool United came from 2-0 down away at League Two high-flyers Exeter City to force a replay. Ryan Bowman and Nigel Atangana scored midway through the second half, but the visitors clawed back in the second half to earn a replay. Nicky Featherstone thundered home from 30 yards while Nickie Kabamba capitalised on an error from goalkeeper Jonny Maxted. The winners of the replay at Victoria Park will face an away trip to League One Oxford United.
Eastleigh hosted Crewe Alexandra in an entertaining tie that had 36 attempts on goal. Midfielder Owen Dale opened the scoring for Crewe on 36 minutes with a close-range header. The Spitfires earned a deserved replay with an 86th-minute equaliser from Marcus Barnes. Championship strugglers Barnsley will have an interest in the outcome of the replay as they’ll visit the winners in the third round.
Pitman breaks Altrincham hearts as Pompey snatch victory in dying seconds
League One giants Portsmouth hosted National League North Altrincham in a tie that on paper should’ve been one of the easiest to predict. The non-league visitors were seconds away from changing the script but they would leave heartbroken.
Pompey striker Ellis Harrison almost broke the deadlock on 25 minutes, but his low drive hit the outside of the post. Jordan Hulme hit the post for Altrincham in an evenly matched first half.
Portsmouth midfielder Ben Close has a habit of scoring spectacular goals, and he added to his collection on 56 minutes with a spectacular volley. Josh Hancock’s penalty on 82 minutes deservedly brought Altrincham back on level terms with the visitors dreaming of at least a replay. Deep into added time, Brett Pitman spared Pompey’s blushes by heading from close range to break Altrincham hearts.
The 2008 winners travel to League One rivals Fleetwood Town in the third round.
Chichester perform admirably at Tranmere despite heavy defeat
Chichester City were given a first-round goodbye as they were drawn against Bury who were expelled from the EFL. Their reward was a trip to League One Tranmere Rovers in front of the BT Sport cameras.
The Isthmian League South East Division side matched their EFL counterparts in the first half, creating chances whilst defending resolutely to keep the game goalless.
The second half followed the same pattern for the first 15 minutes but unfortunately, Chichester started to show signs of tiredness. An 11 minute hat-trick from Morgan Ferrier in between a brace from Corey Blackett-Taylor ended the tie for the valiant visitors. They did at least have a moment to savour as Ryan Peake headed a consolation in front of the travelling supporters.
The margin of defeat was cruel on Chichester, but the experience was something their fans and players will never forget. Tranmere will be eagerly anticipating the third round as they’ll be travelling to Premier League strugglers Watford.
FA Cup 2nd round results (29th November – 2nd December)
Maldon & Tiptree 0-1 Newport County
Cheltenham Town 1-3 Port Vale
Forest Green Rovers 2-2 Carlisle United
Kingstonian 0-2 AFC Fylde
Oldham Athletic 0-1 Burton Albion
Portsmouth 2-1 Altrincham
Shrewsbury Town 2-0 Mansfield Town
Walsall 0-1 Oxford United
Eastleigh 1-1 Crewe Alexandra
Blackpool 3-1 Maidstone United
Bristol Rovers 1-1 Plymouth Argyle
Crawley Town 1-2 Fleetwood Town
Exeter City 2-2 Hartlepool United
Gillingham 3-0 Doncaster Rovers
Northampton Town 3-1 Notts County
Peterborough United 3-0 Dover Athletic
Rochdale 0-0 Boston United
Tranmere Rovers 5-1 Chichester City
Solihull Moors 3-4 Rotherham United