The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By Matt Wright

WY­COMBE man­ager Gareth Ainsworth praised his side for avoid­ing a Stour­bridge­shapped ba­nana skin and see­ing off the low­est-ranked team in the com­pe­ti­tion.

This was a thrilling, fullthrot­tle FA Cup tie and Stour­bridge, who play in the North­ern Premier League, the sev­enth tier of English foot­ball, more than held their own in front of over 2,000 trav­el­ling sup­port­ers.

But just when they thought they had bridged 74 league places and earned a re­play, up popped Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa – aka ‘The Beast’ – with seven min­utes left to send Wy­combe into round four for the first time since their run to the semi-fi­nals in 2001.

Ainsworth said: “Stour­bridge came with the ex­pectancy of an upset and ev­ery sin­gle one of their play­ers gave every­thing they had, and you could see why Gary Hack­ett has been in charge for 14 years.

“They’ve got a cou­ple of de­cent play­ers as well who could play higher, so it was a po­ten­tial ba­nana skin. But the big story is we’ve man­aged to avoid that and Wy­combe is in the fourth round.

“Hope­fully the draw will be kind to us be­cause we’ve worked so hard this sea­son with two cups still and we’re do­ing well in the league.”

Scott Kashket put Wy­combe’s first clear chance wide, but Stour­bridge were pro­vid­ing plenty of men­ace, with Ja­mal Black­man forced to push away a fine ef­fort from Dan Scarr.

The hosts were look­ing a lit­tle rat­tled and prob­a­bly pleased to get into half-time goal­less, even more so when they scram­bled an opener just af­ter the restart.

Stour­bridge goal­keeper Matt Gould beat away Luke O’Nien's pow­er­ful ef­fort, with Sam Wood turning the ball in from close range af­ter Do­minic Gape pulled it back across.

PIC­TURES: Prime Me­dia Im­age

STAR MAN DAN SCARR Stour­bridge Stour­bridge play­ers thank trav­el­ling fans TAK­ING A BEASTING: Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa cel­e­brates

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