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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 January 2006, 16:54 GMT
Nuneaton 1-1 Middlesbrough
Gez Murphy celebrates his equaliser
Gez Murphy's late penalty earned non-league Nuneaton a deserved replay at Premiership side Middlesbrough.

Gaizka Mendieta had given Boro a lead with a stunning free-kick after 15 minutes of the FA Cup third-round tie.

But Nuneaton more than matched their rivals, missing a host of chances and failing to win a penalty when Mark Noon was brought down by Gareth Southgate.

Then in the last minute, Southgate handled in the box and Murphy slotted home for the Conference North side.

The game - played on a terrible pitch, in dreary conditions and with the 6,000 home fans determined to make themselves heard - had all the makings of a classic FA Cup encounter.

And Nuneaton more than played their part, with Murphy twice going close in the opening five minutes.

But after those early scares, the visitors took the lead when Mendieta found the net after Terry Angus gave away a free-kick just outside his own box.

The Spaniard's curling effort flew into the corner, giving goalkeeper Darren Acton no chance.

Nuneaton suffered another blow when they lost David Staff through injury after less than 20 minutes.

But, after Action had denied James Morrison, the home side showed great resilience as well as plenty of skill against a side exactly 100 places above them in the football pyramid.

Substitute Stuart Whittaker tested Boro keeper Bradley Jones with an ambitious effort before the dangerous Moon sent a curling shot just wide.

Mendieta then almost doubled his tally while Stuart Parnaby had fired straight at Acton.

But Nuneaton continued to threaten, Angus, Whittaker and skipper Neill Moore all going close.

The home side were then denied a blatant penalty midway through the second half when Noon brilliantly turned Southgate and looked to have been hauled down as he went to shoot.

But referee Mike Dean made himself the villain of Manor Park when he seemed to suggest Southgate had got a piece of the ball.

That incident looked set to be the main talking point of the game as Nuneaton began to run out of steam.

But Dean turned from villain to hero by awarding a spot-kick in the dying minutes when Southgate miscued a clearance onto his own arm.

Murphy remained calm as he sent Jones the wrong way from the spot to earn his side a lucrative replay at the Riverside.


Nuneaton: Acton, Oddy, Moore, Angus, Love, Collins, Noon, Fitzpatrick (Reeves 82), Staff (Whittaker 23), Quailey (Frew 77), Murphy.
Subs Not Used: Wilkin, Poole.

Goals: Murphy 90 pen.

Middlesbrough: Jones, Parnaby, Southgate, Bates, Pogatetz, Morrison, Doriva, Cattermole, Mendieta, Yakubu, Viduka.
Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Taylor, Johnson, Wheater, Maccarone.

Booked: Pogatetz.

Goals: Mendieta 15.

Att: 6,000

Ref: M Dean (Wirral).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Nuneaton manager Roger Ashby


Interview: Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren



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