LOUTH Town made history last night as they made it through to the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Gedling Miners Welfare at Park Avenue.
After Saturday’s hard fought 0-0 draw in Nottinghamshire, last night’s replay saw a more open affair.
Goals from Carl Martin and Danny Stevens saw the White Wolves through in what was their first ever home game in football’s oldest cup competition.
Danny Kilmore and Jamer Archer returned to the starting XI for Louth, with Jamie Coulson and Nick Manders dropping down to the bench.
It was Gedling who had the better of the early exchanges, with their pace causing problems down the flanks as winger Joel Wilson gave Rocky Rawlings a torrid time. But it was Louth who saw the first real opening when Danny Kilmore’s shot was saved by Rhys Watkinson after Andy Willoughby’s flick on.
With nine minutes gone, a free kick was hit long by defender Stevens which the visitors failed to deal with, Elliot Broughton rose well to meet the ball but headed wide. Moments later Wiloughby’s persistence earned Town a corner from which Rawlings hit the bar with a clipped cross.
Louth then found themselves with the chance to score from the spot as Broughton was clipped in the box. But the normally reliable Stevens saw his driven penalty saved well by Watkinson.
As the half wore on the visitors became the more likely to score, launching a quick break which ended with Chris Muldoon shooting just wide from 20 yards. Moments later, Tyrone Cairns shot wide after a neat build up.
And Town were indebted to goalkeeper Craig Wherry as he somehow kept out Kieran Wells’ goal bound effort, producing a brilliant one-handed save.
The deadlock in the tie was finally broken two minutes after the break as Willoughby’s header was saved, but skipper Carl Martin headed the rebound home to send the home side into the lead.
But the hosts should have had a second just moments later as Kilmore played a superb low pass into Broughton who slipped the ball under the onrushing ‘keeper but just wide of goal.
On 63 minutes Wherry kept the visitors out again, tipping away Danny Pass’ driven shot.
Then the away side drew level, a set piece caused havoc in the Louth box and Wells drilled the loose ball past Wherry to make it one apiece.
But Gedling’s joy was shortlived as Louth regained the lead two minutes later, Stevens atoned for his earlier penalty miss by bending a free kick round the wall and into Watkinson’s bottom corner.
As the final whistle approached it was the home side who looked like adding to the scoresheet, substitute Coulson found himself free in the box but shot wide and moments later saw his effort saved well by Watkinson.
As the referee called time on the game there was huge relief around Park Avenue, Louth had finally managed to see off the spirited visitors. The White Wolves have been drawn to play at Holbrook Sports in the FA Preliminary Road on Saturday, September 3.
Before that they face a league fixture against Glasshoughton Welfare at Park Avenue on Saturday, kick off is 3pm. And next Tuesday Louth will travel to Askern Villa in the second round of the Wilkinson Sword Trophy in a 7.45pm kick off.