FA Cup: Norton United thrilled to reach first round for the first time

Scott Dundas, manager of Norton United
Scott Dundas has led Norton into the FA Cup first round for the first time in the club's history

Norton United manager Scott Dundas wants to "keep this fairytale going" after his non-league side reached the FA Cup first round for the first time.

The Potteries-based Evo-Stik South club won Wednesday's fourth qualifying-round replay at Shildon 2-1 to book a home tie with Conference side Gateshead.

"For Norton to be in the first round of the Cup is something you'd never even dreamed of," he told BBC Radio Stoke.

"I can't put into words the commitment the lads put in," added Dundas.

Where Norton rank in the football pyramid
Norton United currently lie 12th in the Evo-Stik League First Division South - the eighth tier of English football - and are one of the lowest-ranked sides left in.
They were founded in 1989 when they joined the Staffordshire Senior League. Their home is the 1,500-capacity Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute, based in Smallthorne on the north side of Stoke-on-Trent.

"Now we've just got to try and keep this fairytale going against Gateshead. But, where we've come from the last four years, every game is winnable."

Norton, without holidaying star striker Micky Lennon, may have thought their chance had gone when they were held 1-1 on Saturday by ninth-tier Shildon.

But, after being granted use of Potteries neighbours Port Vale's team coach by chairman Norman Smurthwaite, Norton were able to secure their spot in the first round.

Goals from Lee Cropper and Kyle Diskin either side of half-time put them in control, before former Stoke City striker Paul Connor ensured a nervous last quarter of the game when he pulled a goal back on 73 minutes.

Norton United's FA Cup wins and winnings
Preliminary round: 30 Aug - Stafford Town 1-4 Norton (£1,925)
First qualifying round: 13 Sep - Corby Town 3-3 Norton
First qualifying-round replay: 16 Sep - Norton 2-1 Corby Town (£3,000)
Second qualifying round: 27 Sep - Norton 2-1 Spalding (£4,500)
Third qualifying round: 11 Oct - Runcorn 2-5 Norton (£7,500)
Fourth qualifying round: 25 Oct - Norton 1-1 Shildon
Fourth qualifying-round replay: 1 Nov - Shildon 1-2 Norton (£12,500)

The one damp note to mar their victory is that Diskin, whose 53rd-minute rebound strike proved to be the winner, will miss out on the club's history-making game with Gateshead on 9 November as he is suspended.

"It's not about me. It's all about the club and everyone connected. And this means the world to me," Diskin told BBC Radio Stoke.

Diskin also revealed the cash bonus provided by Norton chairman Steve Beaumont, who has been involved with the club since they began their non-league journey in 1989.

"The chairman gave us a great pre-match incentive," he added. "He has given us all £2,000 in prize money and that will now go towards a trip to Magaluf at the end of the season."

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