Today the FA Cup started in earnest, with the Preliminary Round- and many of our clubs were involved. What we got was a wonderful day of football- and a small slice of normality.
Here’s what happened, in (almost) alphabetical order!
AFC Sudbury hosted Harborough Town of the United Counties League, and the visitors struck first, after sixteen minutes- and second, after twenty eight. Could the Yellows respond? They could, Shane Temple halving the arrears five minutes later and then equalising eight minutes before the break. Temple got his hat trick five minutes after the restart, and then got his fourth five minutes later. The match ended without further incident, but it had undoubtedly had enough incident already!
Ashford United and Whitehawk already knew each other pretty well, so neither should have been unprepared. Second v fourth in the South East Division when last season shuddered to a halt, both would say that the League was more important- but the Nuts and Bolts started as if they were very much focused on the cup, too- Wilson and Condon putting them two up midway through the first half. That’s how it ended, and United progress,
Bracknell Town are amongst the favourites for promotion from the South Central Division, and ended last season with enormous momentum. They travelled to Badshot Lea, of the Combined Counties Premier, and took the lead on sixty minutes through Mickel Platt. Perry Coles doubled the advantage eight minutes from time and ended the contest.
Barking and Heybridge Swifts know each other well despite these days not being in the same division, but the home Blues were giving a competitive debut to their new 3G pitch whilst Swifts are a side in transition after a number of high profile departures. The Blues took the lead just before the half hour through David Fallah, and the same player doubled the lead just half an hour later to seal victory.
Bedfont Sports hosted Hassocks, from the Southern Combination Premier Division. The visiting Robins had a very positive start to the season with wins in League and Cup, but they fell behind after three minutes through Jordan Espirit. Would that knock the espirit out of the visitors? No, but the same player doubled Sports lead soon after the break! Hassocks then got back into the match through Charlie Pitcher, but any hope was soon extinguished as Darryl Sanders made it three for the hosts.
Histon travelled to face Biggleswade of Pitching In Southern League Division One Central, and fell behind midway through the first half. Sadly they couldn’t find an equaliser, and their cup hopes were extinguished.
Bowers & Pitsea welcomed another Southern Central side, Barton Rovers, to the Len Salmon, and took the lead just after the half hour, Daniel Trendall with the goal. It was two before the break, Quentin Monville with that one, and when Billy Knott made it three from the spot victory was as good as secure. Knott got a second spot kick to make it four, and although the visitors got one back a fifth from Kamal De Bourg made it five for the hosts.
We’ve already mentioned one side from Biggleswade, and the other, Biggleswade Town, travelled to Cambridge City. City took an eleventh minute lead through Ryan Sharman, and Nathan Olukanmi made it two on the half hour. Before the break it was three, another Ryan, Ingrey, finding the net, and then the first Ryan made it four. That was that, and City progress.
Canvey Island are highly fancied for promotion from the Pitching In Isthmian North Division this season, and they faced another side who could say the same- only for the South Central. Ware were having a wonderful 2019-20 when all came to an end, and scored first in this tie- but sadly at the wrong end to give the Gulls the advantage. Tobi Joseph made it two for the Gulls twenty minutes from time, and that’s how it ended.
Carshalton Athletic hosted Whitstable Town in another all-Pitching In Isthmian tie, whilst their former striker Ricky Korboa was opening his account at Northampton Town. David Fisher made sure that life went on without Ricky, opening the scoring eight minutes before the break, and it was two soon afterwards, Ernold Haxiu doubling the advantage. After the break Jordan Cheadle and Tommy Bradford made it three and four, and then Omar Koroma made it five. Ollie Rowe got a late consolation for the Oysterboys.
Chertsey Town welcomed Abbey Rangers, who defeated Welling Town in the last round. Olly Duffy put them ahead in the second half, and Baxter added a second to clinch victory.
Three Bridges headed around the M25 to Cobham, and fell behind just after the half hour, but drew level through Dean Lovegrove in the sixty third minute. The match went to penalties, and Bridges fell to a four-three shootout defeat.
Bury Town were also on the road, to Cogenhoe United of the United Counties Premier. Cemal Ramadan opened the scoring for the visitors on the hour, and that was the only goal of the game.
We had an all-North Division tie as Coggeshall Town hosted Tilbury, and the Dockers were soon at a disadvantage as David Knight got his marching orders in the early stages. They were at greater disadvantage when Nnamdi Nwachuku scored the first goal of the day, and midway through the second half Jack Simmons made it two and there was no way back for Tilbury.
Cray Valley PM also had a set of local rivals turn up this afternoon, as they hosted VCD Athletic. Connor Dymond gave the Millers an early lead, and midway through the first half Ade Yusuff doubled it. Hassan Ibrahiym made it three on the half hour, and the poor Vickers must have wished they’d stayed at home when Yusuff got his second- and his side’s fourth- seven minutes after the restart. They’d have been even more depressed when Francis Babalola made it five, and the agony wasn’t over as Ade Adeyemo got the sixth.
Sittingbourne, refreshed with a number of impressive signings including Andy Drury, travelled to the coast to take on Deal Town- and it was the hosts who made the early breakthrough, Macauly Murray putting them ahead in the very first minute. It was double Deal after twenty minutes, and three for the hosts five minutes before the break. Deal made it four just before the hour, and although Kane Rowland got one back it would have been a long drive home for the Brickies.
Dereham Town hosted Whitton United of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division. The match was severely delayed due to an injury to the visiting keeper- we hope he gets well soon- and after the restart the Magpies took the lead through Toby Hilliard, but the visitors equalised soon after the half hour. Ryan Crisp restored the lead, but again Whitton equalised- and that's how it remained at half time. Hilliard's second of the game, eleven minutes from time, sealed the win.
East Grinstead Town knew all about Phoenix Sports, who defeated Lancing 11-10 on penalties in the last round after a three-all draw, but did Phoenix Sports know about East Grinstead Town? Last season’s whipping boys have strengthened substantially, and Sports knew all about that when Louie Theophanous put the Wasps ahead in only the fourth minute. The same player made it two after thirty five minutes, and when Jerry Amoo made it three just before the break the home fans must have been wide-eyed in amazement. Jeff Duah-Kessie got one back for Sports with ten minutes remaining, and then James Dyer made it a nervous added time for the home fans by bring it back to three-two, but the hosts held out.
FC Romania, with lots of new investment, hosted Brentwood Town, with lots of new players. It was one of those new players- although technically also an old player, in that this wasn’t his first spell with Town- Sam Bantick who broke the deadlock after fifty six minutes, and that was all he wrote. Town progress.
Faversham Town saw Eastbourne Town of the Southern Combination Premier travel to Salters Lane. The visitors have been close to promotion to our level for a number of seasons without quite being able to achieve it, but they went ahead after twenty six minutes today. The Lilywhites were quickly level, however, Harry Harding with the equaliser, and that was the end of the scoring, so we were off to penalties. The hosts triumphed in the shootout six-five.
Grays Athletic brought Witham Town to Parkside, in front of two hundred and twenty three, and there was little for either set of fans to celebrate until a minute from time when an own goal gave Grays the victory.
Great Wakering Rovers played host to Brantham Athletic of the Eastern Counties League, and it was the visitors who made the breakthrough, on the hour mark. That turned out to be the only goal of the match.
Hanwell Town faced Spelthorne Sports of the Combined Counties League, and took the lead after thirty two minutes through Ogo Obi. They doubled it just before the break through Andrew Herring, and the same player got number three with eighteen minutes remaining to seal the win. A consolation from Sports made little difference as Gareth Chendlik made it four just before the end. Headline image from Tom at Town- see more from him here.
Harlow Town has a season to forget in 2019-20, but have looked much better in pre-season and have given their fans hope. They hosted Sporting Bengal United of the Essex Senior League, and took an early lead through Christian Adu Gyamfi, who struck in the sixth minute. It took almost an hour for a second goal to arrive, but again it went to the Hawks, Ruaridh Kay with it. Adu Gyamfi made it three with three minutes to go and the Hawks progressed comfortably.
Harpenden Town took on Aveley, who were magnificent in knockout competitions last season and started the same way, Bradley Sach putting them ahead in the seventh minute. It was double-Millers on twenty seven minutes, George Sykes giving them twice the advantage, and three before the hour, double-George as Allen hit the third. That was that, and the Millers progressed.
Hastings United and Herne Bay are amongst our favourites for South East promotion this season, and all tickets for this tie sold out in anticipation of an exciting encounter. They waited a long time for a goal, and it came seven minutes from time, Jack Dixon putting the hosts ahead- and that turned out to be the only goal of the match.
Hertford Town took on last season’s cup heroes Maldon & Tiptree. The Jammers are much changed for the new campaign, but took the lead on the hour through Aaron William-Bushell, which turned out to be the only goal of the game.
Hythe Town welcomed South Park to Reachfields as South East entertained South Central. One hundred and sixty turned to watch, and they had nothing much to shout about as the first half ended goalless, but the visitors were given a reason to be excited when Connor French put them ahead six minutes later. The advantage was doubled through Leon Lalor-Dell on sixty seven minutes, before Nathan Gordon got one back to make the last eight minutes interesting- but it wasn’t enough, and Sparks progress.
Kingstonian welcomed Combined Counties side Horley Town to King Georges Field, and were quickly ahead through Corie Andrews. Simon Cooper made it two four minutes before the break, and the same player made things safe with twenty two minutes remaining. Town did get one back, but twelve minutes from time Lewis Pearch made it four for the K’s.
Marlow took on North Leigh at Oak Tree Road, the Southern League Division One Central side, and took the lead ten minutes before the break, Charlie Samuel with the opener. Jordan Brown made it two six minutes from time to end the contest.
Northwood hosted Slimbridge of the Southern League South, and Calvin Dickson gave them the lead just after the half hour. The held that lead until eight minutes before the end, but an equaliser came nonetheless, and we went to penalties- which the Woods won, four-two.
Oxhey Jets, of the Spartan South Midlands League, played host to our Saints, Chalfont St Peter- and the Saints got the winner, and the only goal of the game, in the very last minute- Sydney Ibie with it.
Ramsgate had a demonstration of street football before their match with Chipstead, and perhaps wished they’d locked the visitors Spencer Cripps in the cage as he scored the opening goal on the stroke of half time. Within fifteen minutes of the restart it was nil-three, Jack Beadle and Sam Bell dampening any optimism the Rams fans may have harboured, and that’s how it finished.
Sevenoaks Town brought CB Hounslow United to Greatness Park, and took the lead in the eleventh minute through Kyle De Silva. It was two only seven minutes later, Tyrell Richardson Brown doubling the advantage, and three nine minutes before the break, James Bessey-Sakdana made it three. After the break the match was abandoned, and as yet we don’t know why. A club statement simply says that they are ‘investigating an alleged matter.’
Sheppey United hosted Uxbridge and took the lead twenty minutes in. Could the Red Army shout their side back into the game? They could, Ryan Haugh equalising with twenty five minutes remaining, but were soon behind once more, and when United got a third with eleven minutes left it seemed as if it was all over. It was- Sheppey got a fourth six minutes from time.
Soham Town Rangers took an early lead against St Neots Town, scoring in only the fourth minute. Ashley Walter notched that one, but the greens couldn’t hold out for too long, St Neots equalising after twenty seven minutes and then taking the lead nine minutes later. Early in the second half the hosts equalised, Jake Andrews making it two-two, and then Sam Mulready- is it always Sam Mulready, or does it just feel like that- stepped up to make it three-two, which turned out to be the final score.
Ashford Town didn’t have far to travel, as they took on Southall- and the Tangerines were ahead before the quarter hour, an own goal doing the damage for Southall. The hosts equalised with twenty four minutes remaining, and then got the winner in the last minute.
Staines Town brought Guildford City to Wheatsheaf Park, and took an early lead from the spot through De’Jaune Taylor-Crossdale. The visitors equalised after the break, but the Swans got their beaks in front once more seven minutes from time, Arif Hattabi with the goal, and held on for victory.
Basildon United took a trip to the airport- well, almost- and it seemed they had jetlag early on as Stansted took an eighteenth minute lead. It was two-nil after forty minutes, and that was how it finished.
Tooting & Mitcham United hosted Fisher, and took the lead after half an hour, Sinn’Kaye Christie scoring the opening goal- but the Terrors weren’t having it all their own way, and the equaliser came seven minutes before the break to the disappointment of most of the three hundred and ninety eight in attendance. The Terrors did get their noses in front once more with ten minutes to go, Dontai Stewart on target, but yet again Fisher struck back and took the tie to a shootout- which they won, three-one. Tooting’s cup adventure is over.
Waltham Abbey hosted Essex Senior League side Woodford Town, and took the lead just before half time, Leon McKenzie opening the scoring. That turned out to be the only goal of the game, and the Abbotts progress.
A new look Westfield kicked off their competitive campaign against Frimley Green of the Combined Counties League, and fell behind soon after the second half kicked off. They then went down to ten men, as Paolo Giamattei saw red, but shook off that handicap to equalise due to an own goal- and then Aderi Dede surely gave them victory with a minute to go? He didn’t, there was time for an equaliser, and Field lost the resulting shootout five-three.
Omari Hibbert gave Whyteleafe a fourth minute lead against Bearsted, and not too long afterwards Ryan Gondoh made it two. By half time it was three, Zahui Orome surely ending the tie, and Omari Hibbert got number four sixteen minutes from time.