NORTH Leigh suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat as visitors Flackwell Heath progressed to the next round courtesy of a controversial winning goal in their FA Cup preliminary round tie on Saturday.
The Hellenic League Premier Division leaders went ahead thanks to Dan Rapley’s strike, but Callum McNish levelled four minutes after half-time.
However, the Southern League Division 1 South & West hosts were beaten by a hotly-disputed winner from Jeff Brown.
With a Flackwell player lying injured on the ground and his teammates wanting the ball kicked out of play, North Leigh’s players stopped.
However, Brown continued and lobbed Millers keeper Matt Bulman.
Despite continued pro-tests from the hosts the goal stood.
It had started well for North Leigh, with McNish, Wayne Turk, Kieran Sanders and Elliott Osborne-Ricketts all going close early on.
Against the run of play, however, Flackwell went ahead when Thomas James-Peddle played in Rapley, who outpaced defender Andy Gunn and slotted past Bulman.
McNish stabbed home from close range to level just after the break until Flackwell won it with the controversial strike.
Despite throwing men forward, the Millers were unable to find an equaliser and were left to ponder what might have been.
North Leigh: Bulman, Hole, Hopkins, Turk (Bowles 55), Gunn, Caton, A Woodley, McNish,Williams (Ingram 86), Sanders, Osborne-Ricketts. Subs not used: M Woodley, Westlake, Eadle.
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