Jai Stanley once earned Moor Green #10,000 but cousin Craig Stanley cost the Birmingham club even more in a heart-breaking finale to their FA Cup adventure.
With the score at 1-1 and Moors seemingly in the first-round draw for only the third time, Craig popped up in the third minute of injury time for a scrambled winner.
The Bedworth-born former Walsall, Telford United and Hereford United midfielder used to watch the Moors when cousin Jai was patrolling the midfield before a #10,000 fee took him to Worcester City in November 2003. But any family fondness vanished when Michael Howard’s left-wing cross landed at his feet six yards from goal and he tucked the ball past three desperate defenders on the line.
Stanley said afterwards that he had shanked the ball off his shin-pad but such slices of fortune will matter little in two weeks’ time when Morecambe, having pocketed the #10,000 prize-money, face Kidderminster Harriers in the first round. Moors, meanwhile, have a league match at Workington.
Moors deserved better. But football justice and fair results are not always mutually compatible and sheer despair was etched into the faces of Bob Faulkner’s men at the final whistle.
"To say we are gutted is an under-statement," coach Rob Elmes said. "With the way we played in the final 15 to 20 minutes I thought there was only going to be one winner and that was us. It’s absolutely sickening."
From one to 11, Moors produced heroic performances. Guy Sanders, playing his first game in six weeks after a shoulder injury, was immense in defence, Phil Trainer and Terry Fleming never allowed the Shrimps to settle in midfield, and Danny Davidson proved a constant menace up front.
Yet they might have feared the worst when Nationwide Conference promotion-chasers Morecambe, who had provided glimpses of their swift passing and movement, grabbed the opening goal three minutes into the second half.
Fleming was dispossessed on the halfway line by Garry Hunter and sent Michael Twiss sprinting 50 yards goalwards. Defender Andy Penny forced him wide but the striker drilled in a low cross and David McNiven raced in to slot home past Daniel Lewis.
But Moors equalised on the hour. Dave Morrison headed Phil Midworth’s free kick back across the penalty area and Junior English ghosted in at the far post to send a diving header past keeper Steven Drench.
As Moors cranked up the pressure, it was clear Morecambe would settle for a replay, especially when Penny soared above his markers to send a header whizzing inches past the target from Darren Middleton’s free kick. But seconds later Penny sent a miscued clearance spiralling over his head. Keeper Lewis tried to save a corner by punching clear wide of his goal and the ball fell to Howard. Within a flash, Stanley had become the match-winner.
Faulkner said: "When Andy Penny went up for the header I had visions of seeing his face splashed across the papers as a hero. Instead, we’re out of the Cup.
"We’ve made two mistakes in defence and they have capitalised to score two goals. If we had been playing in our league, we would have escaped but that’s the difference of being full-time. It can be such a cruel game."
Recalled Andy White scored twice as Kidderminster Harriers rattled up their biggest win of the season to crush Droylsden 5-1 in their final qualifying round tie.
The reward for Mark Yates’ men is a first-round tie at fellow Conference side Morecambe.
Harriers hit Nationwide North leaders Droylsden with three goals inside the opening 15 minutes. Iyseden Christie’s chip on 12 minutes opened the floodgates and White scored a minute later before White’s cross enabled on-loan Craig Nelthorpe to tap in.
White, given his chance after Plymouth Argyle refused permission for the on-loan Reuben Reid to play, added the fourth from Simon Russell’s lay-off on 37 minutes. The Manchester visitors then had Carl Ruffer sent off after two bookings in as many minutes. Harriers’ Russ Penn scorfed before Steve Jagielka bagged a consolation goal.
Tamworth can look forward to a derby first-round date at Burton Albion after overcoming Harrogate Town 3-1.
Midfielder John McGrath was the Lambs’ inspiration, claiming an assist and scoring with a brilliant free kick, but the Lambs, who reached the third round last season, needed to show their character and class to defeat the Nationwide North side.
Harrogate grabbed a tenth-minute lead through Danny Holland’s penalty after he had been felled but Matty Williams, with his third goal in two games, levelled ten minutes later, despatching Chris Ellerker’s clearance into the net.
McGrath’s free kick allowed Simon Weaver to flick on and Taiwo Atieno’s shot on the turn put the Lambs ahead on 71 minutes before McGrath’s right-footed free kick curled into the net in the last minute.
Burton, who held Manchester United to a draw at the Pirelli Stadium last season, edged out Halifax Town 1-0, thanks to Daryl Clare’s seventh goal of the season.
Clare, in the 14th minute, rattled in a low volley from Andy Corbett’s cross but the Brewers had to defend for their lives after the break.
Worcester City have the incentive of a trip to Chesterfield in the first round proper - but must first overcome Basingstoke Town in tomorrow’s replay.
Andy Preece’s Nationwide North team had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Adam Burley gave them a 65th-minute lead, firing home after Craig Wilding had flicked on a corner from Tom Warmer. But on 84 minutes City skipper Des Lyttle diverted a cross from Cristian Levis into his own net.
FA CUP, first round (Nov 11-12)
Bournemouth v Boston Utd, Wycombe v Oxford Utd, Peterborough v Rotherham, Torquay v Leatherhead, Morecambe v Kidderminster, Tranmere v Woking, Salisbury v Fleetwood, Chelmsford v Aldershot Tn, Weymouth v Bury, Nottm Forest v Yeading, Stafford Rangers v Maidenhead Utd, Shrewsbury v Hereford, Northampton v Grimsby, Wrexham v Stevenage, Chesterfield v Worcester or Basingstoke, Gainsborough v Barnet, Lewes v Darlington, Clevedon v Chester, Barrow v Bristol Rovers, Rushden & Diamonds v Yeovil, Burton Albion v Tamworth, Farsley Celtic v MK Dons, Brentford v Doncaster, Gillingham v Bromley, York v Bristol City, Dover Athletic or Bishop Stortford v King's Lynn, Exeter v Stockport, Newport County v Swansea, Kettering v Oldham, Rochdale v Hartlepool, Brighton v Northwich Victoria, Mansfield v Accrington Stanley, Cheltenham v Scunthorpe, Macclesfield v Walsall, Bradford v Crewe, Leyton Orient v Notts County, Swindon v Carlisle, Huddersfield v Blackpool, Havant & Waterlooville v Millwall, Port Vale v Lincoln City.