Buckingham Town edged into the next round of the Buildbase FA Vase with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Eversley and California on a dramatic afternoon at Manor Fields.
Eversley and California travelled up from Hampshire and were an unknown quantity, sitting halfway in the Combined Counties League Division One, and with Town missing Dan Bevis and Jeremiah Adams, a tricky afternoon lay ahead.
But the Robins made the perfect start on four minutes as Steve Gavrovski’s incredible 70 yard effort eluded the visiting keeper and dropped into the back of the net for a remarkable opener.
This settled down Buckingham who wrestled control without being overly dominant as they kept their slender lead intact until half-time.
Leon Lobjoit looked to have sealed the win as he fired Town 2-0 up ten minutes after the restart but the game was about to turn on its head, all started by a red card for Buckingham’s Michael McKenzie.
That sparked Eversley into life and they began to lay siege to the Robins goal before reducing the arrears on 70 minutes, and five minutes later they were level.
Suddenly Buckingham found themselves clinging on for extra-time but once they did that, Dan Mullins scored spectacularly to put them back in front.
Remarkably, Buckingham were then reduced to nine men as Gavrovski was also sent off for a second yellow card but Town were holding firm and seemed to be heading towards the next round.
The inevitable equaliser arrived two minutes from the end of extra-time, however, as a corner was headed home at the far post and a penalty shoot-out looked on the cards.
But there was to be no need for spot-kicks as Buckingham grabbed a dramatic winner in the 120th minute when Jelani Blair chased what seemed to be a hopeful long ball, the visiting keeper sprinted out to clear the danger but completely missed his kick, leaving Blair to steer the ball into an empty net which sparked wild celebrations.
The Robins were far from their best and the performance fell below the standards set in recent weeks but they showed great character to win this match after going down to nine men and just about deserved their place in the next round.
Buckingham host high-flying Raunds Town in UCL Division One this weekend.