Darren Pratley pleased with resolve in testing Eastleigh clash

Wanderers' captain offers his thoughts following his equalising goal against the Spitfires

After scoring his first goal of the season to earn Wanderers a replay against Eastleigh in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup, Darren Pratley believes the resolve shown by the Whites at the Silverlake Stadium is indicative of the spirit within the squad.

In a game which was earlier under threat of postponement due to the state of the rain-sodden pitch, the home side drew first blood courtesy of an own goal by Dorian Dervite shortly after half time.

Not to be denied their place in the hat for Monday’s fourth round draw however, Wanderers’ captain struck his inaugural effort of the current campaign to set up a rematch at Macron Stadium.

And speaking to bwfc.co.uk following the final whistle, Pratley was pleased to leave the game with a positive result despite the testing conditions in Eastleigh.

“It was never going to be an easy game,” he said. “They’ve got good players and they’re a very good side. 

“Obviously it’s nice to score, especially in a competition like the FA Cup as it’s a very special tournament, but we really needed that to fall for us.

“I don’t think we were ever going to come here and win three or four nil – at the end of the day, the cameras were here looking for an upset and it was important that we’re in the hat for the next round.

“It gives both clubs a little bit more revenue and hopefully it will be televised, so we’ll just take it from there.

“It’s the FA Cup though so anything can happen. They have some very good players though who’ve had Football League experience and we knew that it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park today.”

He continued: “I’ve previously played with the goalkeeper at Fulham and we arrived here expecting a tough game. Just because they’re non-league, it doesn’t matter. They’re doing well in their own division at the moment too which will have helped.

“The conditions weren’t the best either but the main thing is that we’re still involved in the competition.

“Their goal was just how our luck has been falling at the moment and in recent weeks maybe we’ve let our heads drop, but we managed to create a few more chances after that, stayed positive and managed to get the goal in the end.

“We didn’t crumble and it could have been easy to crumble here in front of the home crowd when they were pushing to go through, but we managed to stay on top and ride it out to eventually earn ourselves a replay.”

With a second meeting with the Vanarama National League side to come now alongside trips to Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest in the Sky Bet Championship, the midfielder stressed the importance of still being in the mix despite the additional fixture to contend with.

“The main thing obviously is that we’re in the hat for the next round,” he reiterated. “It was so important that we managed to get a second shot where we’ll be able to get them back to our place where we’ll know exactly what will lie ahead of us if we do progress to the next round.”

He added: “It was a great atmosphere at the ground today from both sets of fans and our supporters were superb which was appreciated. They created a good vibe and we were really pleased that we were able to reward them with the equaliser in the end.”

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