Wisbech Town came from behind to advance past Hadleigh United and reach the quarter-finals of the FA Vase on Saturday.
Former FA Vase finalist Shane Wardley gave the Brettsiders the lead, but the Fenmen prevailed thanks to Jonathan Fairweather’s close-range strike and Tom James’ penalty.
Wisbech had the better of the early stages without creating too much, but central defender Fairweather showed his threat from set pieces by heading over Adam Millson’s left-wing corner from close range.
Tony Battersby also tried, and failed, to lob Hadleigh goalkeeper Fred Howe, while Duane Wright glanced a header into the arms of visiting custodian Carl Mackney at the other end.
The first clear-cut chance fell to United’s Josh Mayhew in the 22nd minute when Wisbech’s defence failed to react to Tes Bramble’s flicked header through and he advanced on goal before shooting across the face of the net and wide with his left foot.
Bramble also went close for the hosts when he headed Liam Jennings’ right-wing free-kick on to the roof of the net, but they did not have to wait too much longer to open the scoring.
In a demonstration of Hadleigh’s counter-attacking prowess, both full-backs found themselves deep in the opposition penalty area with Ryan Stafford striking the post before Wardley reacted quickest to slide in and convert as the ball rolled across the goalline.
However, they could not hold their lead until half-time as Fairweather was on hand inside the six-yard box to rifle the ball into the roof of the net after Battersby’s initial shot from Millson’s pass had been blocked.
Fairweather almost restored the Brettsiders’ advantage moments later when he headed Mark Goldfinch’s deep free-kick against his own crossbar, but the scores remained level going into the break.
There was not much in the way of goalmouth action when the teams returned to the pitch and Hadleigh were clearly hurt by the absences of key creative players — particularly Scott Chaplin and Matt Downing.
All the hosts could muster was a tame off-target header from Ollie Canfer and a long-range shot by Stafford that comfortably found the midriff of Mackney.
Hadleigh’s Jennings and Wisbech’s Scott Johnson walked tightropes and were lucky not to receive second yellow cards before being replaced in the closing stages.
However, one illegal challenge Jennings made would prove to be much more costly than a sending off as he brought down Danny White with a clumsy foul to concede a penalty eight minutes from time.
The visitors’ top scorer James sent Howe the wrong way as he stroked the ball into the bottom left corner and there would be no way back, leaving hundreds of travelling Wisbech fans to back out the Millfield bar to celebrate after the match.