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APSA dig deep to shock Sandhurst

PUBLISHED: 12:34 23 September 2010

APSA-LUTE DELIGHT: London APSA players celebrate their late winner on Saturday.

APSA-LUTE DELIGHT: London APSA players celebrate their late winner on Saturday.

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FA Vase Second

Qualifying Round

London APSA 2

Sandhurst Town 1

AN extra-time goal from Tim Cole was just enough for APSA to edge past Combined Counties League side Sandhurst Town.

A wonder strike from Gavin Toussani put the home side in the lead before Steve Brown levelled for the Berkshire outfit only for the former Dagenham & Redbridge defender Cole to pop up at a vital moment and head home to set up a trip to Ridgeons Premier side Stanway Rovers.

Chairman Zulfil Ali was delighted with the result with the side’s never say die attitude.

“What a great result. The teams desire to win is astounding, John’s got these players into a mode of not losing and long may it continue,” said Ali.

“The spirit in the camp is very good and even though we were vastly under strength with injuries and suspensions, we pulled off a fantastic result for the club.”

APSA went into the game down on numbers, having played only 48 hours earlier in a 1-1 League Cup draw with Hullbridge Sports and were forced to work hard by a young Sandhurst side.

The Newham outfit made a positive start to the match and dominated the first 45 minutes, restricting the visitors to half chances on the break.

But the home fans had to wait until the 19th minute to see the first goal and what a goal it was. Scott won a free kick just outside the box, and up stepped Toussani, who produced a superb shot that curled round the wall and into the back of the next.

John Higley’s side then continued to dominate and they nearly extended the lead two minutes later as a cross just evaded Scott’s heads allowing Agov in the visitors’ goal to collect.

The visitors, who had made the long journey from Berkshire, started the second half more positively, bringing both their wide men Louis Hibbert and Dan Simmonds into the game and the two wingers started to cause havoc in the home defence.

And it was not long before the second half when Jamie Langton brought the speedy Simmonds down in the box to give Sandhurst the opportunity to equalise.

But Steve Brown made a great save from James Mepham’s spot kick to keep APSA ahead.

But the visitors’ striker was not to be denied ten minutes later as he made amends for the penalty miss, when after another Simmonds run down the left, he got his foot to the low cross to level the scores.

APSA were bereft of their first half creativity and were left to create chances on the break, but their opponents defence kept John Higley’s forwards at bay, despite several contentious offside decisions from the linesman.

In between the hosts chances Sandhurst had the opportunities to snatch a late victory with efforts either just over the bar or saved by Steve Brown to force the game into extra time.

The momentum had clearly swung in the visitors favour and it was going to be a tough period of extra time for the hosts to negotiate.

But APSA refused to accept defeat and got the decisive goal ten minutes into extra time as Toussani turned provider to swing in a left footed free kick that was met by the head of Cole who gave Agov no chance.

Sandhurst made their last substitutions and put a four-man attack in the hope of equalising but the hosts were able to hold on for an important win and progress into the next round.

APSA: Brown, Jamie Langton, Cole, Hind, John Langton, Smith-Shaw, McCullagh, Smith, Toussani, Houghton (Bryant) Scott.

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