By Martin Eastwood
Goalkeeper Dec Lambton was the hero pulling off three penalty shoot-out saves to send Emley AFC through to the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Vase.
It was a night of high drama and even higher emotions at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground as the Pewits turned giantkillers to beat Avro 4-3 on penalties.
Top scorer Joe Jagger had given Emley a 2-0 lead in the first half but Avro fought back, grabbing a heart-stopping late equaliser to send the game straight to spotkicks.
Top-of-the-table Avro with five league wins from five this season and an FA Cup victory, hadn’t conceded a goal this season – until Jagger came along.
Jagger opened the scoring after 28 minutes when he slotted home after a long ball into the box caused confusion.
It was quickly 2-0 when Donae Lawrence was sent sprawling in the box and Jagger coolly drove his penalty down the middle.
Avro were back in the game a minute before half-time as Ethan Sutcliffe made it 2-1 at the break.
Gallery of images by: MARK PARSONS
It proved a battle in the second half with Jagger causing problems as he sought a hat-trick chance. Joe Kenny had an opportunity to wrap the game up after a nice move but he fired over.
Just when it looked like Emley might hang on, Avro grabbed a late leveller through Michael Afuye who found space to slip the ball into the bottom corner to the delight of the travelling fans.
It finished 2-2 and the game went straight to penalties and Avro scored their first two kicks. In between, Emley skipper James Knowles saw his effort saved by the keeper.
It would then turn around as Joe Kenny, then Rikki Paylor smashed home for Emley before Lambton kept the Pewits in it with a great save. Avro scored again to make it 3-2 before Iyrwah Gooden missed for Emley.
With the crowd holding its collective breath, Avro had a chance to win the contest but Lambton pulled off another fantastic save.
George Doyle stepped up to fire home to make it 3-3 and then Lambton sealed the Man of the Match award with another great stop. It was then down to Sam Pashley to smash home to send Emley through amid jubilant scenes.
Emley will be away in the next round at either Swallownest or Vauxhall Motors.