European football history was made in the unlikely setting of Tunbridge Wells this week when the FA Cup preliminary round replay between the local Kent League side and Littlehampton Town went to extra-time and penalties – a record 40 of them.
There was no hint of the drama to follow when extra-time ended, with the teams locked at 2-2, and the penalty shoot-out started. The teams were level at 3-3 after the 10 regulation penalties, and so the sudden-death shoot-out began.
Finally, with darkness all around and the time approaching 11pm, Tunbridge Wells goalkeeper John Whitehouse saved a spot-kick from Grant Vanson to give his side a 16-15 victory on penalties and delight the crowd of 109.
The Tunbridge Wells chairman, Norman Sales, said: “It was nail-biting stuff and we have been told it is an FA Cup and European record. We charged £5 on the gate and our fans certainly got their money’s worth. Perhaps we should have charged them again on the way out.”