Bertie double seals dramatic FA Cup fightback from Racers
Racing Club Warwick staged a quite stunning fightback to beat their higher-level opponents in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup, writes Paul Okey.
Unlucky to be trailing 2-0 to the Southern League Division One East side at the break, Racers scored within a minute of the restart through Marc Passey before going in front courtesy of further strikes from Gerard McGahey and Trea Bertie.
Coleshill got back on level terms soon after when George Washbourne fired home but Bertie popped up to score his second of the game ten minutes from time to cap a breathtaking second half.
Racers showed no sign of nerves on their return to the competition after a ten-year hiatus and should have been ahead in the third minute.
Charlie Bannister’s free-kick was headed back to Ben Mackey on the penalty spot by Luke Cole but the former Brakes striker got his angles all wrong and the chance went begging.
Ryan Edmunds almost capitalised on a mix-up between Scoitt Turner and Bannister at the other end before Mackey prodded the ball on to the post after Cole had got his head to another high ball.
The hosts were stunned in the 11th-minute, however, when Edmunds produced a finish out of the very top drawer, latching on to a bouncing ball 25 yards out and producing a measured finish into the top-right hand corner.
After seeing all their initial promise undone, Racers struggled to respond and it was almost half an hour before either side fashioned a chance on goal, Matthew Gardener firing over for Coleshill after a long throw had been flicked on.
Danny Tymon then sidefooted wide after being allowed time and space inside the Racers box to pick his spot.
A superb cover tackle from Matthew Jackson denied Cole a shooting chance but it was a rare foray forward for the home side as Coleshill turned the screw.
Bannister produced a fine save with his legs to deny Reece Leek and Sean Castleton then misjudged the bouncing ball allowing Gardner a shooting chance on the edge of the six-yard box. However, he shot into the side netting.
Three minutes before the interval, the pressure told when Coleshill made it 2-0.
It was a catalogue of errors from the start, with Mackey gifting possession back to the visitors who were allowed time and space to pick out a cross. With the keeper and defenders leaving it for each other, Evans ghosted in to guide the ball home from close range.
Cole flicked a header wide from an Alex Price free-kick in injury time but Racers were back in the tie just 60 seconds into the second half.
Passey advanced with intent after picking up the ball 35 yards out and produced a sweet drive which arrowed into the bottom corner.
It was just the fillip the home side needed and they went on to dominate the next 20 minutes as Coleshill struggled to cope with the pace of Bertie.
Price drilled a shot just wide after picking up the pieces on the edge of the box and Bertie then went one-on-one with the keeper after two defenders misjudged a long ball forward. However, he could only find the side netting.
Manager Scott Easterlow introduced McGahey for Wade Malley on the hour-mark and a minute later the substitute got Racers back on terms.
Bertie was denied by a smart save by keeper Paul Hathaway who then undid all his good work by dropping Mackey’s follow-up cross on to the foot of McGahey who could not miss from three yards out.
Racers’ tails were well and truly up and in the 65th minute it was 3-2.
Bertie got goalside of defender Jorna Moulton after a long ball out from the back and did well to hold him off before firing across Hathaway and into the net to spark wild scenes.
Coleshill pulled level two minutes later, however, as Racing Club switched off at the back, Washbourne drilling high into the net after the ball had been pulled back from the byline.
The visitors looked to have gathered themselves after a shaky spell and Washbourne was pressured into dragging a shot wide by a desperate challenge from Cole.
Fellow substitute Joshua Webb was then denied by a fine save from the legs of Bannister who raced across his goal smartly after the Racers defence were again at sixes and sevens.
Henry Leaver struck the post after his initial free-kick was returned to him and as both sides chased a winner, it was Racing Club who struck the decisive blow.
The chance looked to have gone after McGahey’s shot from outside the box was deflected on to a post. However, Mackey regathered possession and his shot across the keeper was diverted into the net by Bertie at the far post.
After seeing their earlier lead evaporate so quickly and despite Mackey now a peripheral figure due to a foot injury, Racers were able to see out the closing minutes with few alarms.
Edmunds was unable to find the target with a header and a memorable victory was confirmed when keeper Hathaway, still up from another corner, skied the ball high over the Warwick bar.
Racers’ reward is a trip to Boldmere St Michaels or Malvern Town in the preliminary round on August 25.
The two teams drew 2-2 at Boldmere at the weekend.