Express & Star

FA Cup shock: Stourbridge 1 Northampton Town 0 - Report and pictures

So, where were you, BBC? And where were you, BT Sport?[gallery]


Not at the War Memorial Ground, sadly, where Stourbridge's FA Cup dream reached new, almost unimaginable heights with a dramatic and deserved victory over League One Northampton Town.

Jack Duggan's winner, four minutes from time, sent the Glassboys through to the third round for the first time in their history. An achievement, a genuine giant-killing, more than worthy of the coverage live television which instead went elsewhere, yet no less precious to manager Gary Hackett and his team.

Plymouth, Kidderminster, Dover, Whitehawk - all pale in comparison to this triumph, the greatest yet of a club whose love affair with the world's oldest cup competition shows no sign of ending soon.

Stour were worthy winners, too, against a team from four divisions above. They were the team who asked the most questions, with Northampton keeper David Cornell having already twice denied Dan Scarr before Duggan slammed home the most emphatic of winners, just when a replay had begun to look the most likely outcome.

The Glassboys now head to League Two Wycombe for the third round, another tie which will not get TV coverage. On this evidence, however, you would rule out the fourth round at your peril.

Hackett made just one change to the team which defeat Ashton United 2-0 in the league on Saturday, Kayleden Brown coming in for the cup-tied Jordan Archer. It meant Duggan kept his place in the heart of defence, alongside Scarr.

Northampton boss Rob Page meanwhile paid Stour maximum respect, naming an unchanged team from the one which snapped a four-game losing streak in League One with a 3-2 victory at Port Vale last weekend.

If there had been concern some air may have been let out of the fixture by the last Sunday's postponement and the subsequent under-whelming third round draw, you would never have guessed it. Certainly not from the noise which could be heard from the Shed End, or the pace with which the Glassboys came out of the blocks, skipper Tom Tonks' sliding challenge on Matt Taylor summing up the energy of the early minutes.

The hosts had style, too, to go with the desire and might have led on ten minutes had Chris Lait been able to direct his shot, following a neat exchange with Luke Benbow, the right side of the post.

Northampton looked nervous, their uncertainty epitomised in left-back David Buchanan, who, under pressure from Dodd, passed the ball across the face of his own goal with no team-mate in sight.

It was fast-paced stuff, with both teams happy to ask questions and test the defensive mettle of the other by hitting long balls over the top.

Stour, however, were the only ones creating chances. A well-worked free-kick on the half-hour mark brought the first effort on target of the match, with Cornell forced to tip over Scarr's powerful header. From the corner, Duggan momentarily escaped at the far post, with only the intervention of a defender preventing his header from creeping in.

The pace of Dodd and Lait was causing countless problems for the visitors. At one point, the latter almost slalomed his way way through to goal before being dispossessed. Brown then had a shot blocked at close range after Northampton failed to clear another long ball into the box, before Dodd failed to react in time to Duggan's downward header at a corner.

Northampton's attacking efforts, despite some decent enough build-up play, amounted to an Aaron Phillips shot which cleared the bar by several yards. The first warning of their quality - and how quickly they might go up the gears - arrived just seconds before half-time when Paul Anderson slammed a shot inches wide of the post from 25 yards out.

Such a moment was not the sign of things to come, however, as Stour continued to ask all the questions at the start of the second period. Indeed, they almost went ahead in bizarre fashion when Cornell misjudged the bounce from a Tom Tonks long-throw and ended up tipping the ball into the bar, the rebound falling just wide of Lait.

Moments later the keeper was on sounder footing as he again denied Scarr, tipping over the defender's header from a Tonks cross.

Northampton, meanwhile, continued to look horribly out-of-sorts, unable to take advantage of the openings which came their way. When Anderson won a free-kick 25 yards from goal on the left, Jak McCourt hammered it well over the bar with a host of team-mates waiting for a cross.

Finally, however, the gaps in the Stour defence began to appear and only a superbly-timed challenge from Scarr prevented Richards from going clean through on goal.

The sustained Northampton pressure had now arrived. A good block was needed to prevent Nyantanga forcing home at close range, before McCourt drilled an effort just a foot or so over the Stour bar from distance.

A long final few minutes looked likely but with just four minutes remaining Stour went ahead. The visitors again failed to deal with a free-kick into the box and this time the ball fell to Duggan, unmarked at the far post, who slammed the ball left-footed into the net.

Hackett and his backroom team, assistant Jon Ford and first-team coach Mark Clifton among them, poured onto the pitch. The last few minutes, bar the clearing of a flare launched from the terrace during the goal celebrations, contained no real dramas. On to Wycombe.

Stourbridge (4-4-2): Gould, Green, Duggan, Scarr, Westlake, Dodd (Canavan 90), Broadhurst, Tonks ©, Lait (Gater 82), Brown, Benbow Subs not used: Pierpoint, Birch, Smikle, Hague, Malhotra (gk).

Northampton (4-4-2): Cornell, Phillips, Nyantanga, Zakuani, Buchanan, Hoskins, McCourt (Iaciofano 90), Taylor, Anderson (Hanley 77), Richards, Revell Subs not used: McDonald, Beautyman, Byrom, D'Ath, Smith (gk).

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