Sean Ray described Hastings United reaching the third round of the FA Cup as “surreal”.
The Ryman League Premier Division minnows booked a dream trip to Championship big shots Middlesbrough after winning 5-4 on penalties at home to Harrogate Town in their second round replay tonight.
Hastings player-manager Ray said: “I can’t believe it. It’s surreal. It doesn’t seem like it has sunk in yet.”
Ray said he was always confident going into the penalty shootout and it was toss between him and Dee Okojie as to who would take what turned out to be the all-important sixth penalty.
In the end Okojie stepped up and scored to put United through.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Ray continued. “I really fancied us on penalties. We have got a lot of boys in there who are technically decent and they all wanted to take one.”
The 31-year-old also paid tribute to the wonderful support provided by the capacity crowd of 4,028 which packed into the Pilot Field for a match televised live by ESPN.
“To sell out in three or four days was unbelieveable,” added Ray, who said he can’t wait to head to Teesside on the first weekend in January.
“The fans made a nice racket for us and they got us through it especially in the penalties. What an occasion.”