Road to Wembley
Our Road to Wembley feature brings you the best of the reaction from FC United's draw at Brighton.
Last Updated: 30/11/10 9:32am
Our Road to Wembley feature continues as we bring you the best of the reaction from FC United's clash at Brighton.
The Football Club United of Manchester dream continues as they claimed a draw at League One leaders Brighton.
But things could have been so different. FCUM took the lead when midfield ace Nicky Platt scored for the second successive round.
Scott McManus was then sent-off with 20 minutes left, but despite being down to 10 men, United looked as if they would hold out for yet another famous win.
But with seven minutes left, Brighton levelled as player-assistant manager Mauricio Taricco scored.
Then six minutes into stoppage-time Brighton were awarded a penalty, but step forward FCUM keeper Sam Ashton - who saved at full stretch to write another chapter in the unfolding FC United story.
Speaking after his save, Ashton was understandably delighted and he heaped the praise on assistant boss Roy Soule.
"Roy had watched a tape of Brighton's penalty shoot-out at Woking and told me that Sandaza will go left and the rest will all put it to the right," revealed Ashton.
"I did go to my right and I touched it round the post. I could tell that he didn't want to take it. He didn't look as though he was confident to take it."
Platt was equally ecstatic and he is adamant that they can dispatch of Brighton in the replay.
"We can't wait to get Brighton up to our place, which I'm sure will be packed," he said.
"Brighton will not have seen anything like it, I can guarantee it. You can see why they are top of the league - they were quality opposition. But I'm sure a lot of our lads could step up to play in League Two or in the Conference."
Last season's FA Cup runners-up Portsmouth will now travel to Brighton or FCUM in the next round, and that provides some real incentive - not that the non-leaguers need much more.
"It's mind-blowing to think we're just one game away from playing last season's beaten cup finalists," said FCUM boss Karl Marginson.
"To think Portsmouth went all the way to Wembley last May and now we could be meeting them, it's unbelievable.
"But, before we start getting too carried away, we've got to remember we've still got a big job to do if we're to get past Brighton.
"If we're fortunate enough to do that, we can look forward to another terrific occasion because Portsmouth would no doubt bring a big following up to Gigg Lane. That would mean lots of noise from both sets of fans and a cracking atmosphere.
"Pompey may be mid-table in the Championship but they have some great players and still have aspirations to get back into the Premier League.
"They're going to be decent, but we'd have nothing to lose against them, so, from our point of view, it's a great draw."
No cup of cheer here
Of course the lure of a South Coast derby is a big one for Brighton, but Gus Poyet is taking a pragmatic approach and the magic of the cup does not appear to have got a grip on the former Chelsea star.
Poyet revealed: "I will probably play the reserves.
"We lost one game and we drew two in the league because of Woking (FA Cup first round).
"I'm not going to lose and draw another game in the league because of FC United.
"We should have been two or three nil-up before they had their first shot, then it probably would have finished 4-1 or 5-1 or 6-1 or 25-1.
"If we put the ball in the net we will beat Colchester, if we don't score from three yards then we will have a problem."