In a dramatic ending, a 10-man Gungahlin United have held on for a 1-0 extra-time win over Belconnen United to advance to the Westfield FFA Cup round of 32.
A hard-fought contest was settled in the first period of extra-time with Daniel Barac’s goal proving the difference.
But there was an incredible ending as David Kemp almost forced a shootout at the end but his shot hit both posts before bouncing out.
Gungahlin looked to be up against it when Regan Walsh was sent off for throwing a punch with 16 minutes left in regulation time.
But they dug in and forced extra-time before Barac scored a priceless goal to put the club into the main draw on July 1 and a shot on the national stage.
“We were a little bit lucky today to be brutally honest, but the boys showed heart and we pinched it with a goal near the end,” Gungahlin captain Dustin Wells told the Sunday Canberra Times.
“When you get a man sent off it’s a bit of panic stations, but we battened down the hatches and kept it tight at the back and were able to catch one at the set piece.
“This was one of our goals because as a new club we didn’t think we would have the consistency to challenge for the title in the league. This is unreal.”
Gungahlin are now the ACT’s sole representative in the Westfield FFA Cup round of 32 and could draw a Hyundai A-League side in the nationwide knockout tournament.
It’s an incredible effort for a club that is in their first season in the National Premier League.