A last-minute goal from former player Nassim Dukali ended Walton Casuals’ FA Cup dreams for another season after a 3-1 defeat to Herne Bay.
A first-half goal from Junior Aikhionbare gave the hosts the advantage going into a break after an even 45 minutes, and a coolly finished penalty from Roscoe Dsane suggested a replay was on the cards. However, a strike from Alex Mulrooney-Skinner deflated the visitors before Dukali sealed the defeat for the current Bostik South Division leaders.
The Stags opted for a few changes after a perfect August campaign, and welcomed Max Hustwick for his second spell at the club after a move to Kingstonian.
And the visitors almost had the dream start to September when an early effort from Roscoe Dsane was knocked out of play by the arm of a Herne Bay defender. The referee ruled the clearance insufficient of a handball, but it was an early threat for the Bay.
The hosts immediately responded with a dangerous chance of their own, and Alex Mulrooney-Skinner broke through the defence before sending his shot high and wide. A later attempt to lob the goalkeeper from Casuals captain Daryl Coleman beat Benjamin Hunter but also beat the post as it edged narrowly wide.
An even first-half produced chances for both sides, although Walton Casuals enjoyed possession more. That was until Junior Aikhionbare broke the deadlock in the 36th minute, collecting a through ball from Bradley Schafer before smashing the ball into the corner.
Half-time saw the introduction of Josh Kelly for fellow Maidenhead United loanee Sean McCormack after a brief spell out through illness, and the 18-year-old looked to test the Herne Bay defence from kick-off.
The Bay controlled the tempo of the game after grabbing a one-goal lead, and Denzel Gerrar kept his side in the game with several impressive games. A goal kick from the former Sutton United man soon found its way into the Herne Bay final third, and Josh Kelly did well to draw a foul from the hosts. After some confusion between the referee and linesman, the penalty was awarded and Dsane made no mistake to tuck an equaliser into the bottom corner.
As the game appeared to be heading for another 90 minutes on Tuesday night, a soft yellow card for Coleman resulted in a quickly taken free-kick being put past Gerrar from 15 yards by Mulrooney-Skinner. The introductions of Evander Lopes and Michael Phillip-Ogbuogu couldn’t savage another chance for the Casuals, who began to tire considerably after a tough schedule in recent weeks.
Substitute Dukali, who spent the 2014-15 season at the Stags, changed the game with his introduction as his flair and trickery left the Casuals defence struggling to keep up. The midfielder was eventually rewarded with a last minute goal, beating Max Fitzgerald on the turn before finessing his goal from the edge of the box to complete the victory.
Herne Bay: Benjamin Hunter, Danny Rumbol, Raphe Brown, Jack Steventon, Jono Richardson, Danny Leonard, Connor Wilkins, Thomas Carlton (Nassim Dukali 73), Alex Mulrooney-Skinner (Jarred Trespaderne 90), Junior Aikhionbare (Jake Embery 73), Bradley Schafer.
Subs Not Used: Joshua Wisson, Jai McKinlay, Ryan Catmull, Thomas Carey.
Goals: Junior Aikhionbare (36), Alex Mulrooney-Skinner (77), Nassim Dukali (90)
Walton Casuals: Denzel Gerrar, Max Fitzgerald (Michael Phillip-Ogbuogu 90), Harry Mills, Alex Kelly, Max Hustwick, Joe Hicks, Sean McCormack (Josh Kelly 45), Daryl Coleman, Roscoe Dsane, Lartey Sarpong (Evander Lopes 70), Luke Holness.
Subs Not Used: Jack Battie, Samuel Labinjo, Alfie Taylor, Stuart Baldwin.
Goals: Roscoe Dsane (67)