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Saints 1-1 Mickleover (4-3 on penalties)

The Saints booked their place in the fourth qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup last night as they overcame Mickleover on penalties.

A tight game was eventually decided from the spot, with Michael Johnson proving to be City’s hero as he tipped away the final penalty.

Ian Allinson brought Devante Stanley, Luke Warner-Eley and David Noble back into the side following Saturday’s trip to Concord Rangers.

The Saints started the game looking to get forward quickly and forced Joe Slinn into the first save of the night within the opening ten minutes, tipping Solomon Nwabuokei’s ambitious curled effort over the bar.

Ten minutes later the Mickleover stopper was called into action once again, this time turning Shaun Jeffers’ snap-shot from close range over the target.

Six minutes later, however, City finally found a breakthrough and it proved to be from an unlikely course. A free-kick from the right was swung in by Warner-Eley and reached James Kaloczi, and the defender’s rather tame header slipped through the gloves of Slinn and into the back of the net.

Declan Bacon had Mickleover’s best chance of the opening forty-five as the clock entered the 34th minute. He latched onto a through ball and powered into the box before drilling his strike into the side netting.

Zane Banton, who proved be a thorn in the side of the visitors throughout, had a chance to double City’s lead before the interval but saw his drive turned away well by Slinn.

The Saints were soon made to regret failing to capitalise as Mickleover levelled things up shortly after the interval.

A swift passing move from the away side ended with George Milner driving a low cross into the City goalmouth that Declan Bacon couldn’t fail to convert from a yard out at the back post.

Banton was invovled again for the Saints prior to the hour mark as he let fire from the edge of the box only to see his attempt comfortably gathered by Slinn.

Devante Stanley, who enjoyed finding plenty of space down the right during the second half, lined up an ambitious shot that Slinn managed to eventually hold onto at the second attempt.

Ian Allinson introduced Mitchell Weiss in place of Nwabuokei and the summer signing almost had an instant impact, as he cut into the box and fired inches over the bar.

The final chance of the game for either side fell to Shaun Jeffers from David Noble’s corner with five minutes to go, but the experienced forward saw his header hacked off of the line and with that the tie went to penalties.

Jeffers stepped up and converted the first spot-kick of the evening and it proved to be advantage Saints as Kemy Agustien sent Mickleover’s first penalty over the bar.

Noble, substitute Chidyausiku and Banton then calmly converted, while Warren, Milner and Webb did the same for the Sports.

Kyran Wiltshire, stepping up to secure the victory, saw his low spot-kick turned away by Slinn.

36 year old Stuart Beavon had the chance to level things up and keep the away side in the tie, but it proved to be City’s evening as Michael Johnson pushed the attempt over the bar.

The draw for the 4th round of qualifying will take place at 1pm on Thursday live on TalkSport 2.

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