FOREST GREEN ROVERS 2 PORT VALE 3
A CLASSIC rollercoaster FA Cup tie ended in heartbreak for Forest Green, who deserved a replay at least.
League Two promotion hopefuls Vale raced into a two-goal lead inside 12 minutes, Ashley Vincent and Clayton McDonald punishing some jittery defending from the underdogs.
The tie caught fire ten minutes before half-time when James Norwood pulled one back for Rovers, and when home captain Eddie Oshodi levelled early in the second period his side looked the likelier winners.
But Micky Adams' blushes were spared by substitute Ben Williamson's 80th minute header from a corner – a goal to enrage managers at any level.
The hosts' enthusiasm was punctured inside seven minutes when Vincent was quickest to a cross-field pass, burst between two defenders and poked the ball beneath goalkeeper Sam Russell.
Tom Pope sent a diving header wide before Vale doubled their lead in the 12th minute, Vincent nodding down a long throw for McDonald to finish from close range.
It was something of a bolt from the blue when the advantage was halved on 34 minutes, Yan Klukowski producing a defence-splitting pass and Norwood placing his high shot superbly past Chris Neal.
But four minutes of the restart Vale made a hash of clearing Brogan's inswinging free-kick and skipper Oshodi rammed home the leveller.
Norwood almost produced a Cup goal of legendary status with 15 minutes left, the winger embarking on a mazy run from deep in his own half before firing inches wide of the far post.
But five minutes later it was 3-2 to the favourites, Williamson getting on the end of a Ryan Burge corner and planting a header past the helpless Russell.
See Monday's Citizen for Peter Orchard's match overview, match reaction and pictures.
Forest Green: Russell; Asafu-Adjaye, Turley, Racine, Stokes (Brogan 46); Oshodi, Bangura, Klukowski; Vieira (Koroma 83), Styche (Taylor 46), Norwood; Subs not used: Hodgkiss, Rowe, Bulman.