Tristan Abrahams’ goal at the death ensured that 10-man Welling United would force a replay in the Emirates FA Cup at Gosport Borough on Saturday.
After a first-half in which the Wings looked fairly comfortable, taking a one-goal lead into the break via Kain Adom’s strike, the game was turned on its head early in the second half when the visitors were reduced to 10 men and the hosts got themselves 2-1 ahead.
But Abrahams’ strike seven minutes into injury-time saw a huge sigh of relief for the men in red, who will now prepare to go again in midweek.
The tie began in cagey fashion with both teams trying to feel each other out in the early exchanges, but the visitors soon began to assert some control on proceedings.
Tristan Abrahams headed wide from Crossley Lema’s centre on 15 minutes, before Lema curled a good-looking effort just over the bar shortly after.
Jephte Tanga tested keeper Toby Steward with a low drive as the Wings began to add pressure and they would have their lead on 23 minutes thanks to a stylish strike.
Adom, who was making his first competitive start for the club, plucked the ball out of the air before picking his spot and curling a sumptuous shot into the top right-hand corner from 20 yards.
The Wings should probably have been further ahead before the half-time whistle when Abrahams was played through one-on-one in first-half injury time but, with just the keeper to beat, he skewed his shot well off target.
That miss proved pivotal as Welling made a disastrous start to the second period.
Just 90 seconds after the restart, Gosport drew themselves level and it was a soft one for the visitors to conceded.
A long ball into the box looked to be a routine catch for Ben Winterbottom, Rafa Ramos’ slight touch took it past the keeper and into the net.
Moments later, it got worse when Welling were reduced to 10 men. Already on a booking, Adom was sucked into an altercation with Charlie Wassmer. Although the Gosport man appeared to be the aggressor and was also booked, it was the Wings’ goalscorer who suffered and was given his marching orders for a second-bookable offence.
Four minutes later, it would go from bad to worse when Gosport took the lead following another mistake at the back.
A casual clearance from Lachlan Byrd allowed Ramos to capitalise, squaring to Dan Wooden in plenty of space in the box to fire into the bottom corner, tipping the game completely on its head.
Welling had a good shout for a penalty prior to the hour mark when Steward dropped a catch in the box, before appearing to wipe out Tanga as he looked to recover, but the referee waved the appeals away.
In truth, the 10 men were finding it difficult to get themselves back into the game. Despite enjoying plenty of possession and attacking intent, the Wings could not find a way to find that all-important leveller.
With 11 minutes remaining, Tanga’s cross found Abrahams in space in the box, but his firm volley cleared the bar. Shortly after, there was another big penalty shout waved away when Antony Papadopoulos was about to pull the trigger, only to have his leg pulled away by a Gosport defender, but the referee took the decision to turn, once again, turn the appeals down.
The Wings threw plenty of pressure forwards late on but were struggling to create that killer chance until the seventh minute of injury time when the opening finally came.
With Welling pouring forward, Green’s cross from the left found itself at the feet of Abrahams who firmly finished into the bottom corner to spark celebrations and relief in equal measures.
The sides will now prepare for a replay at the J Hearnden Skip Hire Community Stadium in midweek.
Gosport Borough: Steward, Kavanagh, Sharp, Wassmer, Medway (Jordan 74), Hollands, Cumberbatch, Efedje (Barsa 61), Ramos (Tarpey 74), Tarbuck, Wooden.
Subs (not used): Davis-Stephenson, Williams.
Booked: Efedje 7 (foul on Adom), Sharp 24 (foul on Abrahams), Wassmer 50 (altercation with Adom)
Goals: Ramos 47, Wooden 54
Welling United: Winterbottom, Lema (Bramble 78), Byrd, Burchell, Green, Tanga, Vaughan, Odusanya (Muwonge 89), Adom, Papdopoulos (MacAllister 89), Abrahams.
Subs (not used): Pitterson, Bayford, Kassarate, Addae.
Sent off: Adom 50 (second-bookable offence)
Goals: Adom 23, Abrahams 90+7
Referee: Charles Martland