LITTLEHAMPTON Football Club crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday when they conceded a 96th-minute penalty away at Ryman League side Sittingbourne.
Golds, who eventually lost 3-2, started by far the brighter and took the lead after just three minutes when Ben Gray finished excellently into the bottom right-hand corner.
Seven minutes later Scott Packer created space for a shot inside the box but was denied cleverly by Sittingbourne stopper Adam Molloy.
The hosts drew themselves level after 19 minutes, when Hicham Akhazzan headed home unchallenged.
Littlehampton then committed defensive suicide when Joe Taylor snatched possession in Golds’ back line and slotted home in the 34th minute.
Six minutes later the excellent Gray smashed home his second of the game with an explosive finish from just inside the box. Gray was in the thick of the action again six minutes into the second half when he was denied superbly by Molloy.
Golds had a flurry of chances to win the game in the dying stages, the first of them falling to Packer.
In the 84th minute, debutant Dan Simmonds’ cross was parried into Packer’s path but he failed to compose himself and skied his effort over the bar.
Littlehampton were then reduced to ten men when Simmonds, who had only been on the pitch for 20 minutes, was shown his second yellow.
Four minutes into added time Alex Kew had a golden opportunity to send the Golds through when he broke clear, however, he chose to turn back inside rather than shooting and the chance went begging.
In the 96th minute, Sittingbourne were awarded what looked like a soft penalty when Jamie Thompson was adjudged to have tripped a Sittingbourne player in the box. Ryan Golding composed himself and finished straight down the middle to send the hosts through.
Littlehampton manager Mark Bennett said: “We didn’t play at our best, however, I think we deserved something out the game, but if you don’t take your chances when they come around you are always going to have a problem.”