Bath City 1 Daggers 3 (AET)
Two goals in extra time from Jon Nurse were just enough to send the Daggers into the second round of the E-on sponsored FA Cup after a tricky replay at Twerton Park on Wednesday evening.
''It's the FA Cup so we expected a tough evening,'' said manager John Still. ''We've not had the best form, I don't think they have had the best form, so it was important not to be over-confident. They got a great equaliser, a terrific strike, and it could have knocked us. But we bounced back well and I am delighted.''
The Daggers side showed two changes from the first match ten days ago - Scott Doe was back from suspension to captain the side, while Gavin Tomlin returned in place of Damian Scannell in a 4-3-2-1 formation.
It was easy to see why both teams have been struggling in their respective divisions this season, as neither side threatened in the early exchanges. But it was the hosts, currently bottom of the Blue Square Premier, who fashioned the first chance of any note after 16 minutes, as Lewis Hogg got on the end of a cross from Sean Canham, but his effort lacked power and it was easy for Daggers keeper Chris Lewington.
However, unlike the first meeting, it was the Daggers who got their noses in front this time, four minutes later, from what was their first meaningful attack. Richard Rose played a neat one-two with Nurse out on the right and his high, looping cross was met with a powerful header from young Brian Woodall, who had scored the equaliser in the original tie.
The goal seemed to settle their nerves and they could have doubled their advantage ten minutes later - Tomlin firing wide from the edge of the penalty area after a surging run through the home defence.
But the Romans were just the width of the post away from an equaliser seven minutes before the break, when a free kick from out on the left by Alex Russell beat everyone but bounced back off the right-hand upright.
The hosts looked far more dangerous at the start of the second period and they threatened twice in the early stages. Skipper Joe Burnell headed over from close range within three minutes of the resumption, while Lewington then produced a fine one-handed save to keep out a downward header from Charlie Clough.
It was therefore no real surprise when the underdogs got themselves back on level terms twenty minutes from time. The Daggers had several chances to clear their lines but when they failed to do so the ball fell invitingly to Adam Connolly 25 yards out, and he arrowed a low shot past Lewington into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
The Daggers came closest to winning it in normal time when Woodall fired over the crossbar twelve minutes from the end, but there was no denying that Bath did not deserve to lose in 90 minutes, so the tie went into extra time.
Still made changes - Medy Elito replacing the disappointing Dominic Green, while Josh Scott came on for Woodall - but the goal that put them back in front, nine minutes into the first extra period, was clouded in controversy. Nurse was clearly in an offside position when Doe hit a long ball forward, but Bath defender Jim Rollo directed the ball into the path of the Daggers front man, who coolly rounded goalkeeper Glyn Garner to tap home.
That finally killed off the brave Bath challenge and Nurse wrapped up a second round meeting with Walsall five minutes from time. Another long ball from Doe sent the Barbadian clear of the tiring home defence, and he showed great composure to neatly tuck the ball beyond the stranded Garner.
''We were a little fortunate with the second goal,'' said Still. ''But the rules are the rules and it was nice to finish it off with the third goal which probably made it a little easier. Some of the games we have lost this season we have been a little unfortunate, so maybe our luck will turn now. Jon (Nurse) didn't stop, he played to the whistle and finished it very well. He is not prolific due to the work he puts in, but when he is in the box his finishing is very good.''
''We have lost some major players to operations, but we're getting them back now and we've managed to secure a few loans. Maybe this will kick start our season. Of course we are delighted to still be in the cup so let's have another go and see how we go in the next round,'' he said.
Nurse was full of praise for the character his side showed. ''We have come away from home, where we knew it would be difficult, and got the win. You have to feel sorry for Bath as they played well in both games and were a little unfortunate, but it was massive for us to win. The last few performances have been quiet good and we haven't got the results we deserved, but tonight we have got the win and hopefully that will build confidence for the weeks ahead.''
Asked about the controversial nature of the second goal he said, '' Yes, I knew it had come off their player so I just played to the whistle and was delighted to score.''