Down to 10 men in the second half of an FA Cup first qualifying round match, the last thing you want to see is the opposition bringing on a former Premier League striker.
Unfortunately for Redditch United, that’s exactly what happened in their tie at Hanley Town on Tuesday after the North West Counties side added former Stoke City man Ricardo Fuller to their ranks over the summer.
Keen to show he isn’t just there to make up the numbers, the 40-year-old came off the bench and scored an 85th-minute winner from the spot to send the Stoke side into the second qualifying round for the first time in their history, thanks to a 3-2 victory.
“It’s been good so far and I haven’t missed a training session,” Fuller told BBC Radio Stoke before the game.
“The chairman showed me the project and told me what he wanted to do and you can feel that the club is on the way up.”
He added: “Clubs at this level depend on FA Cup runs to bring in a few more quid to improve the infrastructure.”
Fuller spent six years with the Potters, scoring 43 goals in 182 league games, and helped them to promotion to the Premier League in 2008, and was part of the squad that reached the 2011 FA Cup final.
Injury ruled him out of the 1-0 defeat by Manchester City in the final but the former Jamaica international still thinks Tony Pulis’ side were unlucky to lose.
“It’s a game that I know we should have won. We had the better chances earlier in the game and if we had scored first then I think we would have gone on to win,” he said.
“They had a very good team with Yaya Toure, who scored the winner, Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany but we always gave them a good game.”