Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray admitted even he was on his feet and applauding Bradley Goldberg’s superb second half FA Cup goal for Hastings United.
United had just gone 3-0 down thanks to Merouane Zemmama’s deflected goal and any realistic hope of a giant-killing act had gone.
But Hastings’ top goalscorer Goldberg ensured the 1,068-strong following from the south coast went home with something to cheer from their long trek to the north east thanks to his 25-yard curling effort into the top corner.
Mowbray said, “It was a fantastic strike and I was on my feet applauding. I looked back at it on the TV to see if we were at fault, perhaps we could have closed him down faster but take nothing away from the lad.
“I’m sure it is something he will remember for the rest of his life. To score a goal like that in front of his own fans in the FA Cup is a bit special.”
Mowbray was also quick to praise Hastings’ attack minded approach and was impressed that the Ryman League minnows, who lie 131 places below Boro in the football pyramid, were prepared to mix it with his Championship high-flyers.
“Full credit to them,” Mowbray continued. “They could have got everybody behind the ball but they had a go and because of that they got their goal. When we missed the penalty (in the 17th minute) it could have been a bit edgy for us but we knew we had to stick to our plan.
“We wanted to try and stretch them and play with plenty of width and then pick out the holes when we could. For the most part we did that and when we did we looked dangerous. In games like today you have to try and stretch the play and make the pitch as big as possible.
The former Ipswich Town defender added, “I was pleased the second goal came so soon after the break. At 1-0 you can never relax and we didn’t want to let them in.
“We are obviously pleased to progress as these games are not always as easy as some may think. Had we been drawn away at Hastings, it would have been a much trickier tie for us.
“We wish Hastings all the best and I hope they can go on and use this experience to help them progress in their league.”