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Hartley Wintney manager Ben Dillon wants to make history
HAVING led his side to one FA Cup upset, Hartley Wintney manager Ben Dillon wants to create history by guiding the village side to the fourth qualifying round of the competition for the first time.
An impressive 5-1 victory away at Ryman League Division One South side Eastbourne Town means that Hartley are the last remaining north Hampshire club in the FA Cup.
Their reward is a home tie against Clevedon Town, who are currently struggling near the foot of the Southern League Division One South and West table – so another shock could be on the cards.
Hartley boss Dillon said: “I am really happy with the draw. It looks like a winnable game and they will have to come a long way for the game.
“Hopefully, we can get through and create a bit of history for the club. It’s my first year managing in the FA Cup and we are now the last of the local teams left in the competition. I could not really ask for more.”
Hartley’s victory over Eastbourne was packed with drama from start to finish, beginning when the village side were delayed by a major incident on the M25, forcing the game to be put back an hour. When they finally arrived in Sussex, Hartley showed few ill-effects from the long journey, taking the lead after just 15 minutes as Sam Argent played a one-two with Jack Coventry before finding the net.
The hosts levelled 10 minutes before half-time and were reduced to 10 men just before the break, their right back receiving his marching orders after picking up two yellow cards.
Hartley regained the lead on 65 minutes, Argent scoring again, while the striker was then the victim of a terrible tackle. The perpetrator was shown a straight red card, leaving Eastbourne with nine men, and Hartley made the most of their two man advantage, with Ryan Stephens scoring twice and substitute Zac Reynolds completing the rout.
Dillon added: “We are really happy. There is a good buzz around the place and to go to a team in the league above us and beat them like we did is pretty good.
“It means a lot to the club. We are one of the lowest teams left in the competition so it’s good publicity and financially, it’s great as well.”
Hartley return to Combined Counties League Premier Division action on Saturday, hosting bottom side Horley, while they have a home Hampshire Senior Cup tie against Havant and Waterlooville to look forward to next Tuesday.
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