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Edgeworth Eagles produced a remarkable display in its Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 tie against Hyundai A-League giant Melbourne City going down 2-1 in stoppage time at Magic Park on Tuesday night.
The visitors narrowly escaped one of the biggest upsets in FFA Cup history as it was forced to come from behind and score the winner deep into stoppage time to advance to the Round of 16.
Socceroo Aaron Mooy saved the blushes of Melbourne City FC as he produced two top class free kicks in the 35th and 93rd minute that guided City to victory.
Given little chance on the night against their more fancied opponents, it was Edgeworth who took the lead on 25 minutes as Bren Hammel converted from the penalty spot.
Brody Taylor provided great pressure to block Tando Velaphi’s attempted clearance as the ball rebounded across goal, Patrick Kisnorbo providing the sliding challenge against Aaron McLoughlin to give the home side a chance from the spot.
Despite recording nine clean sheets in 19 appearances for Melbourne City last season, Velaphi couldn’t prevent Hammel from finding the back of the net as he showed composure to fire his shot past the Melbourne City goalkeeper with over 100 A-League appearances to his name.
A resilient Edgeworth defence proved hard to break down as it came up with countless crucial challenges and key blocks at the final second in front of goal.
However there was little that Edgeworth veteran Ben Smith could do to prevent Mooy in the 34th minute as his free kick curved around the wall and into the bottom corner from 25 yards out.
The current Northern NSW PS4 NPL leaders more than matched their counterparts after the break as the scores were locked at 1-1 until the dying moments with end to end football on display.
After Novillo drew the foul on the edge of the eighteen yard box, Mooy stepped up to curl his free kick perfectly into the top corner as the clock wound down shortly after and get his name on the scoresheet for the second time of the night.
In an entertaining match that provided a memorable night for the 2,430 fans in attendance, it was a devastating way to finish for the home side after such a great performance that put Melbourne City under pressure.
Despite the heart break of conceding the winning goal just seconds before full time and the prospect of extra-time approaching, Edgeworth coach Damien Zane was delighted with their overall performance of his young side.
‘‘What can you say? I’m just gutted for them, the way it panned out in the last minute,’’ Zane said.
‘‘But I’m just so proud of them. The work they put in, and to still look dangerous and to find that extra effort to play forward like we did.
‘‘The way they worked together and defensively, they did exactly what I asked of them, but in the end they were too good.
‘‘It’s disappointing to lose to two free kicks, but at this level, they have quality there to punish you if you give them away.’’
There will be no time to dwell on the result for Edgeworth who takes on the Newcastle Jets Youth on Saturday afternoon at John McLaughlin Oval as they look to maintain top spot in the Northern NSW PS4 National Premier League.