Crawley Green reached the first round of The Buildbase FA Vase thanks to Mark Bunker’s delightful winner against Brackley Town Saints on Saturday.
The visitors had made a bright opening against their Hellenic League opponents, going close on six minutes when Sam McClelland and Tom Silford combined to set up Bunker, but his effort was saved by Ali Worbi.
Kyle Lincoln’s header from a Bunker cross then beat Worbi, but it was ruled out by the assistant’s flag, as the home keeper denied both Jack Keating and Lincoln once more.
The Saints replied with an effort from Alex Stott that forced Bart Pedrycz into action, while Lewis Baldwin’s long range attempt flew over.
Pedrycz kept out Stott and Ollie Goddard missed the target, but Green took the lead on 35 minutes when Bunker produced a lovely chip to beat the advancing Worbi.
Just before the break, Tyler Ingham headed wide as the visitors stayed in front, with Green’s striker going close twice in the early stages of the second period.
Saints then started to dominate, James Hammond’s attempt deflected behind as they forced three successive corners, before Charlie Kille’s drive went over the bar.
Playing on the counter attack, Ingham’s shot fizzed past the post, while he was prevented from making it 2-0 by Worbi.
With time running out, Saints became increasingly frantic, but Crawley’s defence stood firm as they kept their fourth successive clean sheet.
They will now face Thame Rangers in the next round on Saturday, October 13.
This weekend, Crawley are in league action, entertaining London Tigers.