Forest Green 2 Port Vale 3
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.
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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.