BY MARK DOIG
A last-minute own goal that resulted from a brilliant Dontai Stewart free-kick took Tooting and Mitcham United into the semi finals of the London Senior Cup at the expense of Erith Town.
With the tie destined to go to penalties, Taylor McDonagh could only turn Stewart’s whipped in delivery into his own net.
Erith, had levelled just three minutes earlier despite having five players on the pitch aged 18 or under at that stage.
There were few clear cut chances in the early stages. Mark Waters had the first shot on target but Nic Taylor saved easily. The nearest that the Dockers came was when Sam Fairweather-Oates crossed but Mehsac Ogazi was unable to guide his header goalwards.
As the game approached the half-hour mark, the hosts broke the deadlock. Billy Brown broke down the left wing and although his low pullback went behind the strikers expecting a square ball, Tom Jelly arrived late and fired a crisp shot beyond Taylor.
Fred Obasa cut in from the right but shot wide of the near post for Erith before Ahkeem Belford met a Stewart corner but not with the power to worry Taylor then Dean Hamlin headed over from a Jolly free-kick.
Emmanuel Oduguwa shot wide for Erith but Tooting had the last chance of the half when Waters headed into the side netting from another Stewart corner.
Belford arrowed a long range shot narrowly over after the break but it was just short of the hour mark when the hosts had a great opportunity to increase their lead. A brilliant team move was halted when Noah Kelo was brought down in the area and a penalty was awarded. Jolly hit it well enough but Monserrat international goalkeeper, and former Terrier, Taylor went the right way and made an outstanding save.
Taylor made another exceptional save soon after when Kelo sent Danny Williams clear but the Dockers’ custodian held his ground and blocked his effort.
Two young Erith substitutes combined to create an opening for the visitors but after good work by Alfie Eldridge, Jude Jeffries chipped just over.
Williams had a shot deflected wide before the game moved towards its climax. Obasa shot into the side netting from a tight angle at one end then Stewart just missed the angle of bar and post from a free kick at the other end.
Three minutes remained when the Dockers levelled from the penalty spot after a handball in the area. Although Gary Ross went the right way and got a hand to Obasa’s shot, it had too much accuracy and power and found its way just inside the post.
However, there was still time for a sting in the tail and that arrived in the final minute with the Erith captain’s unfortunate own goal.
The Terrors await the outcome of the Haringey Borough v Hanwell Town tie on Tuesday to see who they will visit next Saturday with the overall victors playing AFC Wimbledon in the final two days later.
PICTURES: DAVE BUDDEN
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