Stourbridge 3, Whitby 2

STOURBRIDGE fought back from two goals down to beat Whitby and book their place in the first round proper of the FA Cup.

The Glassboys failed to live with an early aerial bombardment from their visitors and had it all to do to make the next round.

However, a Dave Bellis first half strike, as well as a penalty save from James Wren, meant the hosts were still in it for the second half.

Late strikes from super sub Alex Nicholls and defender Kristian Green saw Stour come out on top of the five-goal thriller.

Stourbridge had made the worst possible start to the contest as they found themselves behind after just 10 minutes following an error from goalkeeper James Wren.

The keeper miscued an awkward back pass and half volleyed the ball straight against the heels of forward Matt Tymon. The ball ricocheted into the back of the net via the inside of the post and Stour had it all to do.

The hosts looked to find a way back and their first chance came on 15 minutes when Dave Bellis fired over after getting on the end of a good ball in.

However, Whitby continued to ask questions of the Stour backline with testing long balls forward and a high press kept the Glassboys pegged back.

Whitby then had the chance to double their lead from the penalty spot on 25 minutes after Tom Tonks lunged in on Connor Bell. It looked like he won the ball but his follow through carried him into the striker and the ref quickly pointed to the spot.

But Wren made amends for his earlier error to push away Dan Rowe’s penalty to keep his side within touching distance.

Despite that, Stour still couldn’t lift their game or get their passing going in the final third, mainly due to Whitby continuing the aerial bombardment.

It was a long throw that was their undoing on 34 minutes when a near post flick-on handed Adam Gell the easy task of rolling the ball home.

Stour needed a quick reaction and got it just four minutes later when Dave Bellis converted Jordaan Brown’s cross from the left.

Suddenly, buoyed by the goal, it was a different game for the home side as they started to drive forward with the ball at feet, especially through Chay Tilt and Kieran Cook.

They pushed in the closing stages of the half but were still one behind at the break.

Glassboys boss Ian Long would have demanded a quick start from his troops in the second period but he didn’t get it as Whitby won a host of corners to take the sting out of the opening exchanges.

Chances were at a premium for either side as the time continued to drift away.

Stour still hadn’t gathered any sort of momentum well after the hour mark and still hadn’t found a way to test keeper Shane Bland all game.

The home side needed something special and it arrived from the bench when Alex Nicholls found the back of the net with a deflected drive with 15 minutes left on the clock.

The sub collected a ball from Chay Tilt and drilled a low shot from the edge of the area and suddenly Stour were in the hunt for a winner.

They should have been ahead on 78 minutes but Bellis fired straight at the outrushing Bland after working his way into the box.

The Glassboys only had to wait two minutes to get their noses in front for the first time when Kristian Green was on hand to poke home from close range after Tilt’s corner dropped in the six-yard box.

Aaron Lloyd should have wrapped it up in injury but dragged wide.

It didn’t matter, though, as Stour managed the final moments to book another memorable passage into the first round once more, where they will meet either Welling or Eastleigh.

Stourbridge: Wren, Green, Brown, Tonks, Williams, Carter (c), Bellis, Grocott (Turton 62), Lloyd, Tilt (Winwood 90), Cook (Nicholls 72).

Unused subs: Landell, Birch, Fisher.

Whitby Town: Bland, Kitchen (Dixon 80), Mills, Weledji, Bythway, Sukar, Hackett, Gell, Bell (Wearmouth 84), Tymon (c), Rowe.

Unused subs: McTiernan, Elsdon, Bullock, Dixon.

Att: 1,092.