HEYBRIDGE Swifts army of part-time footballers snatched a conquest in the battle of leafy Northwood thanks to midfielder Harry Norman’s penalty shoot-out winner in this humdinger of an FA Trophy tie, writes JON LONGMAN.

Swifts looked to be out for the count when the Northwood keeper Hafed El-Droubi shocked them by heading a goal that took the tie straight to a penalty shoot out

The afternoon had looked so good at the break and the Swifts had looked certain of going through at a canter as they advanced to a 3-0 lead playing uphill on the slanting pitch.

But they contrived to throw that lead away and then needed keeper Jacob Marsden to make two brilliant saves in sudden death extra time spot kicks before Norman arrowed his penalty past the Northwood keeper for the winner.

Swifts new joint manager Karl Duguid, teaming up with his successor Stuart Nethercott, had a comeback game that he said he would not forget in a hurry.

Duguid said: “It is a fabulous win but I cannot tell you what happened because I never watch penalties.”

But Swifts president Mick Gibson told Duguid: “In all my days of watching football [more than 60], I have never seen a game like that. I wish it was like that every week”

Swifts looked comfortable from the start when Manny Owusu stooped low to open the scoring with a rare headed goal that bounced off the post and the back of the keeper’s on its way into the net.

Swifts striker Andy Fennell was giving the Northwood defence plenty of headachaches and he rounded off a dominant display with two goals in 12 minutes.

His second goal deserved to be the winner as he ran onto Kyan Gulliver’s exquisite through ball and planted the ball in the net.

Swifts had created enough half chances to put the tie out of reach but Northwood had other ideas.

Luck was on their side briefly in the second half and Marcelo Graca, one of he shortest players in semi-professional football at just over five feet tall, proved that he was the man for the occasion as he fired in Northwood’s first comeback goal.

Marsden was unlucky as he was beaten by a deflection off Swifts captain George Craddock. Devonte Totesaut struck again seven minutes later to send the tie into a frenetic spin.

Then the unimaginable happened when Northwood keeper Hafed El-Droubi ran the length of the field to meet Ryan Phillips corner with a fine header to take the tie to a penalty shoot out.

Swifts hopes rose when Excel Muhemba did not live up to his name, planting the ball among the trees behind the goal while Swifts captain George Craddock scored the perfect penalty.

Both sides missed a regulation penalty to leave the ties level at 4-4 after the regulation kicks with Jack Adlington-Pile missing his second successive penalty for the Swifts.

But luck had been on Swifts side when Joe Debell’s spot kick hit the keeper and trickled into the netat 3-3 as El-Droubi made a desperate lunge to attempt to stop the ball crossing the line.

Swifts keeper Jack Marsden then made a brilliant save to put Swifts in the driving seat but Owusu fluffed his lines.

Then Graca blew Northwood’s chances of winningtoo and it was left to Harry to secure a Norman conquest 5-4 on penalties before he and Marsden were submerged in a pile of happy footballers celebrating booking a trip to Biggleswade Town in the Third Round Qualifying on Saturday week.