Sleaford Town advanced to the quarter-finals of the United Counties League Knockout Cup for the first time in their long history on Saturday afternoon.
A fairly even first half ended scoreless, as both teams had only speculative efforts at best.
Rothwell didn’t have to wait long in the second half to break the deadlock, when a quick counter-attack led to a calm finish from Ade Ademidon in the 46th minute.
The goal seemed to breathe life into the Greens and they began to dominate possession and chances – Sam Wright nicked the Rothwell keeper’s gloves with another ferocious shot.
It felt like an equalizer was inevitable and in the 74th minute Ryan Rushen collected the ball and curled a fine effort past the dipping keeper just outside the box.
Sleaford continued to push for the winner, with Tom Ward and Mitch Griffiths seeing efforts cut the bar, while between those efforts was a red card for the hosts following a poor challenge.
Then in added time came the decisive moment of the fight. A free kick was awarded down the left side midway through the half, Griffiths got up and drilled in a cross that clipped the defender’s head and ducked into the corner of the net. There was no doubt it was on target, so Griffiths got the applause as Sleaford progressed.
Greens player-boss Ward, who had several fringe players bled through unavailability, said afterwards: “It was a good result, we dominated the 90 minutes and was well worth the win.
“We were missing seven guys today which created opportunities for others and it was great to see young guys playing so well.
“We know what to expect from the young guys, it’s about the more experienced players stepping in and making sure the younger guys don’t disappear and I thought they were superb and it was a game really well earned.
“The next round isn’t until January, so we can focus on the league now and set up last Saturday.”
The Greens return to United Counties League action as they host Heanor Town at Longwater Stadium on Saturday.