Billy Tucker’s 84th-minute goal sent Barnstaple Town through to the quarter-finals of the Edenvale Turf Devon St Luke’s Cup with a 2-1 win over Buckland Athletic.
The striker showed quick feet in the penalty area and a fine finish to beat Buckland goalkeeper Chris Lanyon after Liam Gregory’s burst down the left wing.
After a drab second half, the goal sparked a dramatic final few minutes in which Buckland’s Jordan Havlin was sent off for kicking out at Tucker.
There were 16 places between Barnstaple, of the Toolstation Western League First Division, and Premier Division side Buckland, but there was little between the teams in an open first half at Mill Road.
Barnstaple should probably have led within the first minute when Tucker whipped the ball across goal and Ryan Turner glanced a header wide.
In the fifth minute, Turner was left free at a corner but again his header failed to hit the net and Town were unable to force the ball over the line.
The pace of Tucker and Turner caused the Buckland defence trouble throughout the match and, on 16 minutes, top scorer Turner sprinted clear when a long ball somehow found its way through the back line and slotted the opening goal past Lanyon.
Buckland responded immediately and a minute later Bowker ran unnoticed on to Simon Revell’s free kick to head the equaliser.
Daniel Griffiths had a great chance to put the visitors ahead on 24 minutes when he beat Ross Jones on the left flank, but his shot went wide of the far post. Then a long run from Jamie Micklewright ended with the Buckland striker’s shot being pushed behind by Ryan Draper.
That was the closest Buckland would come to getting ahead as the best of what chances remained in the match fell to Barnstaple.
Turner had a goal ruled out for offside four minutes before half time and, eight minutes after the break, completed a hat-trick of narrow misses from headers after a Tucker cross.
Alex Jeannin then had to make a last-ditch intervention as a clever through-ball by Jack Jenkins threatened to put Turner in.
As heavy rain began to fall midway through the second half the goalmouth action dried up until, in the 80th minute, Gregory forced a save from Lanyon at his near post.
The lively left winger, who set up two goals in Devon under-18s’ 3-2 win over Wiltshire at the weekend, then broke free again, riding a tackle from Liam Drew and squaring the ball for Tucker to score the winner.
Buckland had Bowker yellow-carded for a foul on Turner before referee Tony Cloak dismissed Havlin for kicking Tucker as they chased a loose ball in the 89th minute. And it was Barnstaple’s 11 men who had the better of the five minutes of stoppage time to secure their place in the last eight.
Barnstaple Town (4-4-2): Ryan Draper; Ross Jones, Darren Hawkings, Aaron Harper-Penman, Cory Roach; Kyle Paine (Tom Marsh 66), Sam Stephens (Lee Francis 71), Jack Jenkins, Liam Gregory; Billy Tucker, Ryan Turner. Subs not used: Tom Rossiter, Mitch Cisneros, Kieran Jewell.
Buckland Athletic (4-4-2): Chris Lanyon; Liam Drew, Ben Head, Alex Jeannin, Danny Gaze; Jordan Havlin, Steve Bowker, Mark Revell (Ellis Laight 85), Simon Revell; Jamie Micklewright (Mike Booth 76), Dan Griffiths (Liam McAuley 72). Sub not used: Kenny Griffiths.