GEORGE Clarke grabbed a dramatic second-half winner as BRANTHAM ATHLETIC made FA Cup history by defeating Spalding United 1-0.

The Blue Imps have made this stage – the first qualifying round – on two previous occasions but never got further until now.

It was a fantastic victory for Michael Brothers and Matt Carmichael’s side, who added to their earlier cup triumphs against Wivenhoe Town and Welwyn Garden City.

In the process, they pocketed £6,000 in prize money and extended their proud unbeaten record in all matches to a remarkable 19 games.

The winning goal came in the latter stages, after a perfectly-weighted pass out wide to Brothers.

The joint-manager delivered a cross from the left that took a slight deflection before being turned in by prolific striker Clarke.

It sparked scenes of wild celebration and Brantham will now wait with baited breath to see who they are paired with in Monday’s draw.

The first half had been tight, with little between the sides and not much to report.

Spalding had fashioned the two best chances – one lashed over and another headed narrowly wide.


Midfielder Craig Hughes went close after the break with a long-range effort that whistled just wide of the right-hand post.

Step-four Spalding then had another couple of headed efforts but both flashed over the bar.

It looked like a tight contest may end goal-less, necessitating a midweek replay, but instead Clarke’s heroics capped a memorable day for Brantham.

Elsewhere, BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT are also through to the second qualifying round after a magnificent 4-3 victory at Cambridge City.

The R’s went behind twice but eventually progressed thanks to goals from Matt Baxter, Jake Clowsley and a brace from Billy Hunt.

The latter’s second came from the penalty spot and Cambridge were reduced to ten men after a late red card for Jordan Gent.

Cambridge’s goals were scored by James Hall, Ryan Sharman (two).

Their final goal also came from the spot to ensure a nervous finale.

HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS will also be in Monday’s second qualifying round draw after an excellent 2-0 success at home to Newmarket Town.

Both goals came in the second half and were scored by Sam Bantick and Nicholas Brown.

COGGESHALL TOWN and Berkhamsted Town drew 1-1.

Losing at the break, the Seedgrowers ensured a midweek replay thanks to a tremendous goal from Tevan Allen.