Dan George is the penalty shootout hero for Cambridge City as they beat Stowmarket Town in the FA Cup
Dan George was the hero of the night as Cambridge City beat Stowmarket Town 4-2 on penalties to progress to the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Jarid Robson had given City a first-half lead which was equalised by Jack Ainsley's penalty for Stowmarket after the break.
With no further goals, it went to a penalty shootout and City keeper George saved two Stowmarket spot-kicks to help send his side through to the next round.
There was a lot to like about the game as a whole, particularly the first half, although maybe not quite the amount of shots or saves that goal chasers or thrill seekers would demand, but appealing for the technical efforts.
You could not escape the approach to the game from both teams, trying to move the opposition and create space in behind rather than opting for a more direct route.
Yaw Ofosu was commanding in that regard at right-back, with Stowmarket seemingly looking to exploit the avenue through Anton Clarke and Seb Dunbar.
Defences were definitely on top, and it was hotly contested which meant some stern challenges but none were what you would term reckless or malicious, and referee Andrew Hitchcox deserves credit as some officials may have felt the need to reach for the card more regularly rather than having a quiet word.
As the half wore on, City became the more dominant team.
Tom Wood headed over at the back post, and Ryan Ingrey shook the upright with a drive from 25 yards that bounced clear to safety.
City were growing in confidence and after Ryan Sharman had gone close in the area, the deadlock was broken on 45 minutes.
Ofosu’s slide-rule pass put Robson free in the area and his angled drive looked to have found the inside of the far post, but there was confusion as the ball was out of play on the other side of the net - it had crept through a hole. So City took a 1-0 lead into half time.
Stowmarket showed their ability on the ball at the start of the second half as Ainsley played a pass in behind the City defence for Robbie Sweeney, who drew a smart stop from George.
There was a flash point in the 59th minute.
Nathan Olukanmi was looking to put on the afterburners from halfway, but was intentionally brought down by Luke Read. A melee followed, but Hitchcox handled the situation well with just a yellow card for the initial offender.
The equaliser came three minutes later.
There was deemed to be a handball by a City player in the area, and Ainsley stepped up to give George no chance from the spot.
Stowmarket had a number of long-range efforts that failed to trouble George, and City had appeals for a penalty for a foul on Ingrey waved away three minutes from time.
It meant that the match finished 1-1, and so penalties were the order of the day.
Stowmarket were up first and Ainsley was successful, with his kick matched by that of Sharman for City.
But George then produced a brilliant stop to thwart Sweeney, and Tom Wood’s effort gave City a 2-1 lead.
Dunbar and Robson converted for their respective sides to make it 3-2 to the Lilywhites, and then George saved low to his right to deny Josh Myhew.
Olukanmi stepped up to put his kick into the top corner to send City into the second qualifying round with a 4-2 victory.
Cambridge City: George, Ofosu, Gardiner, Gent, Simpson, Knight, Wood, Robson, Sharman, Ingrey, Olukanmi.
Substitutes not used: Davis, Rigby, Smith, Shaw, Prince-Jones, Barker.
Stowmarket Town: Bradbrook, Brown, Dunbar, Read, Jefford, Bullard, Docherty, Ainsley, Sweeney, C Clarke, A Clarke.
Substitutes: Shaw (C Clarke, 77), Myhew (Docherty, 88). Not used: A Clarke, Lockwood, Potter.
Referee: Andrew Hitchcox.
Bookings: Cambridge City - Simpson (foul, 23); Stowmarket - Docherty (foul, 16), Read (foul, 59),