A dramatic winning goal 4 minutes into stoppage time at Rugby Town secured Evo-Stil League South club Romulus a place in the First Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup, and a home tie against Evo Stik League South Premier side Kettering Town.
Roms now have their eyes on a place in the Second Qualifying Round for the third time in the past ten years, although they know they will have to be at their best to defeat higher division opposition.
“I’m absolutely chuffed to have been in the draw, and a home tie will do us nicely,” said Roms chairman and joint first-team manager Richard Evans. “Kettering are a club with a proud history that I have a lot of time for, and a team that have made a great start to the new season, so it’s going to be a tough game for us.
“But hopefully they’ll be a great atmosphere on the day, they’ll be well supported, and we hope local people in Sutton Coldfield will come out and cheer on our lads – they deserve it.”
Roms certainly left it late before assuring themselves of a place in the world famous competition’s first qualifying round – twelve stages before the final at Wembley Stadium next May.
They twice fought back from behind to beat a gritty performance from Midland League Premier Division Rugby.
The home side led at half-time through David Kolodnyski, but Roms pulled it level through a Cameron Lee header, before Liam Holt fired Rugby back into the lead with a superb long-range volley. But skipper Mark Branch led by example, and headed home from an in-swinging free-kick – a goal that looked like setting up a replay two days later.
But with the game just seconds away from its final whistle, Nathan Waite scored a dramatic goal to secure the Roms their passage into the next round, breaking Rugby hearts, but to the delight of the visiting supporters and officials.
“It was a fantastic game, credit to Rugby Town, and what a way to win it – our lads showed amazing character to twice comeback as they did, and always looking for that breakthrough however late in the game,” said Evans.
“We got what we deserved, and I now hope the confidence from this great win is reflected in our two league games this weekend”.
Great effort by the Roms, twice coming back from behind to score in stoppage time and progress to the @EmiratesFACup first qualifying round
— Romulus FC (@Romulus_fc) August 19, 2017