CRAIG Davis insists his buoyant Winchester City squad will savour the winning feeling while they can.

Although Davis has never lacked confidence in his players, optimism was tempered by financial realism at the start of the Evo-Stik Division One South campaign.

But City’s squad have defied all expectations so far, winning three and drawing one of their four league games and battling through to the FA Cup second qualifying round.

Their fighting spirit was underlined on Tuesday when they bounced back from behind to beat higher-division Frome Town 2-1 after extra time, earning them an FA Cup date at Merthyr Town tomorrow week (September 22).

Frome’s Kane Simpson and City’s Tyrell Mitford made it 1-1, just as they had in Saturday’s Somerset stalemate.

It was the fifth goal of the season for former QPR and Team Solent marksman Mitford.

A penalty miss for each side ramped up the tension, with City’s Jamie Barron having his effort saved by Robins’ keeper James Carey on 32 minutes following a foul on Joe Cook.

Then, on 79 minutes, the referee pointed to the spot for a second time for a trip by Danny King and it was the Citizens' turn to breathe a huge sigh of relief when Chris Allen’s effort went wide off the outside of the post.

Winchester made the breakthrough 19 minutes into extra time when summer signing Connor Cocklin rose to head home Barron’s corner – his first goal for the cathedral city club.

Mitford could have spared the Citizens a nervy ending, but his effort struck the upright, and then a floodlight failure and the dismissal of Frome skipper Ricky Scott added to the late drama.

Reflecting on City’s midweek replay heroics, Davis said: “It’s a real feather in our cap.

“It was a case of two very evenly matched teams across two ties and to have come through against a team from a higher division is great credit to us.

“We’ve made £9,000 so far and that’s a lifeline for the club.

“That’s seven games we’ve played this season and we’ve come from behind in five and remain unbeaten.

"We’ve got a paper-thin squad and in no way were we tipped to do anything this season.

"But, as a group of players and staff, they are all giving me and the club absolutely everything.

"It will all have to come to an end at some stage. For now, though, it’s a phenomenal run and we just have to enjoy what the boys are doing!"

City are back in Evo-Stik Division One South action on Saturday (3pm) at home to Paulton Rovers, who lost their FA Cup replay 2-0 at Basingstoke Town.

Defender Sam Roberts, who missed Tuesday’s game with a groin injury, could well be back in contention, but striker Oli Bailey is a doubt.

Bailey, just back from a three-match suspension, is struggling with an ankle injury picked up on Tuesday.

“Oli was fouled and then fallen on and I thought it was a penalty,” said Davis. “He’s touch and go.”