It was FA Cup day, and we’re going to go through each tie in detail, starting with the good news and then working down to the far more miserable tidings. We've also got some Velocity Trophy news.
Ware deservedly come first. They hosted one of our old friends, Leiston, who aren’t having the best of seasons in the Southern Premier Central, having picked up just one point so far- which has left them holding up the rest. It was, indeed, a good time to play Leiston, and Ware didn’t just take advantage, they ruthlessly walloped the visitors by five goals to one! Liam Hope, in the very first minute of the first half, and Thomas Bruno, in the last minute of it, gave them a two-nil lead at the break. Matt Blake- remember him- reduced the arrears with seventeen minutes to go; but that was just a reminder to Ware that they hadn’t finished the job yet, and a double from Olu Akinsanya and one from Leigh Rose saw them fly over the line and into the next round.
Hornchurch were awarded our Performance of the Month Award on Thursday for their 6-0 win at Worthing, and repeated that result as they hosted Kempston Rovers of the Southern League Central Division One. Joe Christou opened the scoring, Lewwis Spence made it two on the stroke of half time, and after the break Micky Parcell, Spence, Chris Dickson and Matt Johnson added four more.
We had an all North Division clash as Basildon United took on Coggeshall Town. United thumped Framlington Town 7-1 in the last round, but had lost their last two home games, whilst Town were unbeaten in the league- so we might have expected an away win. What we got, however, was the opposite, Adam Vyse and Joseph Paxman finding the net as the Bees came from behind to send the Seed Growers out. Ugo Udoji scored for Town.
Bishop’s Stortford travelled to Dunstable Town of the Spartans South Midlands Football League Premier Division, their hosts heading into this match having been knocked out of the FA Vase last weekend. The Blues were five-nil up and cruising by the fifty-fourth minute, doubles from Jamie Cureton and Ryan Charles- and a Shomari Barnwell penalty- making the difference; but they then contrived to concede three goals to make the margin of victory rather less impressive.
On the Sussex coast we had a Premier v South East Division clash between Bognor Regis Town and Sittingbourne. The Brickies headed to the Rocks after two two-all draws, and unbeaten in four, but Bognor had too much for them and a Jimmy Muitt double put the home side two goals up inside thirteen minutes. When Brad Lethbridge made it three just after the half hour Brickies fans must have worried they were going to be thumped, but their side rallied and kept Town out for the next hour.
Premier Division Bowers & Pitsea were looking to get back to winning ways against old foes Brentwood Town, but it didn’t start well as Jason Williams put the visitors ahead after only three minutes. Two goals in ten second half minutes, from Quentin Monville and Max Cornhill, turned the match on its head, however- and Bowers held on to take their place in Monday’s draw.
There was a clash of the Robins at Larges Lane, as Bracknell Town hosted Carshalton Athletic. It was the visiting Robins who were victorious, Christie Pattison and Omar Koroma scoring the goals in a two-nil win. The home Robins ended the match with ten men after Daniel Bayliss was dismissed.
South Central new boys Chertsey Town welcomed Sheppey United, who sit in thirteenth place in the SCEFL Premier Division. Sheppey perhaps didn’t feel too welcome, however, as the Curfews walloped four goals past them. Jonathan Hippolyte got the first, Lubomir Guentchev the next two, and Valentino Carpene got the fourth before United got a consolation.
We had an all-Premier Division tie between Cheshunt and Brightlingsea Regent, and it had only one goal. That goal came in the very last minute, and it came from the Ambers Mo Camara.
Another side new to our league, Chichester City, hosted Chalfont St Peter. City had never got past this stage of the competition, but they have now, as late goals from Gicu Iordache and Emmett Dunn- newly returned from Bognor- gave them a 2-0 victory.
Corinthian-Casuals hadn’t yet managed to win a match this season, and visitors Sevenoaks Town were expected to prove a stern test- having lost only one match and having defeated Burgess Hill Town in Sussex in the last round. It didn’t turn out that way, however, as Coskun Ekim, a Nat Pinney double and a last minute goal from Reyon Dillon saw the Premier Division side clinch a morale-booting four-nil win.
AFC Sudbury were off to Deeping Rangers in Lincolnshire. Rangers, who play in the Eastern Counties Premier Division, fell behind to Sean Marks opener but then turned the game on its head, and the yellows needed a late Freddie King equaliser to earn a replay.
Dereham Town are another side who require a replay. They welcomed Needham Market, who these days ply their trade in the Southern Premier Central, and took the lead through Robbie Linford with ten minutes to go- but their visitors struck back in the 87th minute so they’ll go again in midweek. Our headline image shows a Dereham celebration, and comes from the lens of Alan Palmer- see the rest of them HERE.
East Thurrock United entertained Peterborough Sports of the Southern Premier Central, and although Lewis Smith gave them a first half lead they couldn’t hold on to it, Sports finding the equaliser and earning a replay sixteen minutes from time.
Our featured match was between Enfield Town, in fifth place in the BetVictor Isthmian Premier Division, and AFC Rushden and Diamonds, in fourth place in the Southern Premier Central. You can read all about it HERE!!
Grays Athletic, who demolished Heybridge Swifts 5-2 in the last round, had another home tie- against Step six side March Town United. They fell behind, but rallied to score three goals before the break, Rob Bartley, Joao Carlos and Steve King giving them a three-one victory.
We had an all- South Central tie as Hanwell Town hosted Staines Town. The home side took a two goal lead, David Taylor and Andy O’Brien with the goals, but then the match became the Che Krabbendam show as the Swans forward got his second hat trick of the season to put Town through. That’s ten goals in seven matches, Che is truly on fire!
Last season’s FA Cup success story, Haringey Borough, looked to start a new run to the First Round Proper or beyond, with Herne Bay travelling up from the Kent coast to stop them. Bay couldn’t stop the yellow juggernaut from rolling on, as goals from Lionel Stone, Georgios Aresti and Anthony McDonald gave Borough a three-nil victory.
We had a Sussex coast derby at Pilot Field, as Hastings United entertained Worthing- and what entertainment we had, as the match ended in a three-all draw. Sam Beale gave United an early lead only for Reece Myles-Meekums to equalise, and then Danny Barker gave the Mackerel Men the lead. It didn’t last, Jack Dixon squaring matters for Hastings, and when Daniel Ajakaiye gave the hosts the lead with eleven minutes to go an upset was on the cards. Right at the end Shola Ayoola popped up with an equaliser, so we have it all to do again in midweek.
We had another all-North Division clash as Histon hosted Maldon & Tiptree. Both sides were in good form, but the Jammers were better, and Tyrique Henry, Kojo Awotwi and Jorome Slew gave them a comfortable three-nil win.
Margate took a trip to Sussex to face Horsham YMCA, and only a last minute goal saw them through. Jack Richards gave them the lead midway through the second half, only for YM to level eight minutes from time. The Blues avoided a replay courtesy of Elliott Reeves winner.
Lewes picked up their first win of the season at Leatherhead last weekend, but the Tanners strengthened, announcing three new signings on Friday, and roared into a two goal lead when the Rooks arrived at Fetcham Grove once more. Jerry Nnamani gave them that cushion, but they couldn’t hold on to it, Kayne Diedrick-Roberts and Dayshonne Golding forcing a replay.
Another Sussex side, Horsham, headed to Metropolitan Police, who hadn’t started this season’s Southern Premier South campaign as well as they ended the last one, and currently sit in fifteenth place. The Hornets got an early lead through Chris Smith, but couldn’t hold on to it, and will get the chance to do it all again at the Camping World Community Stadium.
Ramsgate hosted a Step Six side, Arundel of the SCFL Division One. The Rams were yet to pick up their first League victory, and their visitors had a one hundred per cent record, so we expected it to be quite tight- and it was, ending without a goal.
Soham Town Rangers hosted Whitton United, who are mid table in the Eastern Counties Premier Division, and eased to victory. Cameron Watson, Toby Andrews and Matty Allan scored to give them a three-nil win.
Potters Bar Town headed to Takeley, leaders of the Essex Senior League, who had lost only once this season. Ninety minutes later it was twice; and that goal came in the ninetieth minute, Bradley Sach scoring for the third successive match.
Our South central one hundred per centers Tooting & Mitcham United hosted Step Six AFC Varndeanians, who travelled up from Brighton. The Terrors did what seems to come naturally these days, winning again, with Nathan Daly, David Castanho and Nebay Haile putting them three up before the visitors got a last minute consolation.
Waltham Abbey and Canvey Island renewed acquaintance at Capershotts. The Gulls won both of their matches in the North Division the last time they were together, in 2017-18, but they didn’t win this one. Mind you, they didn’t lose it either, despite playing the last forty minutes with ten men after George Purcell was dismissed. Jason Hallett was their hero, getting an equaliser after Leonne McKenzie and Ryan Dear had turned around an early goal from Josh Hutchinson to put the Abbotts in the driving seat. They’ll have to start again in midweek.
Another two South Central clubs played each other, as Westfield host Chipstead. The two met two weeks ago, Westfield winning two-nil, so the travelling Chips- who defeated Hassocks in midweek to set up this tie- were be out for revenge; and they got it, too, Callum Hope getting a late winner and the only goal of the match.
A Kent derby between Whitstable Town and our Premier Division leaders Folkestone Invicta turned out not to be a banana skin, as an Ira Jackson double and goals from Johan Ter Horst and Sam Hasler saw the visitors take the short journey home with a four-nil victory in the bag; but Merstham did slip up in a Surrey derby, Whyteleafe getting the only goal of the match at Church Road after half an hour, Antonio Walker-Barth with it.
Wingate & Finchley hosted London Colney of the Spartan South Midlands Premier. This was the visitors third FA Cup match this season, and they came into it with an aggregate score of seven-nil from the previous two- but that had changed to eight-four by full time and they had departed the competition, our Blues proving a step too far. Alan Fleming gave the home side the lead only for London Colney to equalise, but after the break goals from Tanasheh Abrahams, Alphanso Kennedy and another from Fleming saw Wingate sail through.
Ashford United have had a fine start to the season, winning each of their matches in the league, whilst Farnborough had lost their last two matches by two goals to nil, so it looked as if we had a good chance of a home win. Sadly it only looked like that for twenty two minutes, by which point the Nuts and Bolts were two down- and a third in the second half ended the contest.
Barking travelled to Kings Langley, mid table in Southern Premier Central, and despite a Johnny Ashman goal left the competition, because their hosts got three.
Haywards Heath Town hosted a side we knew a great deal about, last season’s runaway South Central champions Hayes & Yeading United. Just when it looked to be heading to a replay Dejon Noel-Williams popped up to give Hayes victory in the eighty ninth minute.
Whitehawk took on an Abbey Rangers side- from the Combined Counties Premier- who arrived at the Enclosed Ground unbeaten in all competitions having knocked East Grinstead Town out in Sussex in the last round. They left unbeaten too, a late goal dumping the Hawks out of the competition.
Romford travelled to face a Barton Rovers side in good form- and so it proved, as the hosts walloped their North Division visitors by four goals to nil.
South Park hosted another step five side, Badshot Lea of the Combined Counties Premier Division. The visitors were in good form, and it showed, as they left with a three-one win. Andrew Herring got Sparks goal.
Tilbury travelled to Biggleswade, and took an advantage into half time, Thomas Barton giving them the lead. Sadly Biggleswade then got two in the second half to see the Dockers defeated- including a cruel last minute winner.
VCD Athletic faced the challenge of Moneyfields, a Portsmouth club who sit in thirteenth place in the Southern South Division and defeated Reading City in the last round; and sadly it was a challenge that defeated them, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat. Jack Steventon got their goal.
Witham Town travelled to historic Stamford, hoping not to form part of that history as the Northern Premier Division One side were in very good form indeed, winning five of their six previous matches. Sadly the only goal of the game saw Town head home to concentrate on the League.
We also had three matches in the Velocity Trophy.
In Group One Heybridge Swifts and Bury Town played an entertaining two-all draw, which Town will feel rather disappointed about given Swifts equalised in the very last minute. Cemal Ramadan gave Town an early lead, and although Toib Adeyemi got an equaliser Ramadan restored the lead before the break. Teniola time arrived in the very last minute, Alex equasing for Switfs, and then to run salt in the wound Swifts picked up the extra point by winning the penalty shootout four-two.
Hertford Town hosted Cambridge City in Group Three, and the only goals came in the penalty shootout after the match, City winning that three-nil; whilst Ashford Town entertained Northwood in Group Eight, and that match saw only one goal. It went to Northwood, and Louis Bircham got it seventeen minutes from time.
Three of our sides are in FA Cup action today. Two of them face each other, as Premier Division Cray Wanderers host South Central Bedfont Sports, whilst Kingstonian welcome Walton Casuals to King George’s Field.