YES, we are in the next round of the FA Cup after overcoming Step 4 side the Metropolitan Police in a replay on their home turf at Imber Court; we now progress into the first-round proper of the FA Cup away at Step 5 Eastbourne Town on Saturday 2nd September.
This was the best performance of the season thus far; the opposition is in a transitory stage having lost a lot of their playing squad from last year, but as someone with a good knowledge of football once said ‘you can only beat the team that is put in front of you’ – and we did.
A healthy crowd of 215, which was just short of the 234 who watched the original tie last Friday night, was on hand to view what was a far better match than the previous rather attritional affair.
There were no changes to our team that started the previous tie and we set about our business confidently playing good possession-based football; we certainly had the pace in all areas of the team to trouble the opposition and this proved to be decisive later in the match.
After the opening exchanges, we took a 13th-minute lead through Ethan Nelson Roberts, one of our marauding wing backs, after a wonderful slide rule pass from Kiyo Brown. Would this bring the home team onto us much more? Yes, in patches, but we had enough quality in all areas of the pitch to nullify what they had to offer, and the half began to drift away to the break. In fact, we had a wonderful opportunity in first-half injury time to increase our lead, but the close-range shot went over the bar with the goalkeeper beaten. Overall, a very satisfactory first half.
We expected an onslaught in the second half, but this never really came, and we never really felt that threatened. Yes, there was the odd attack that looked promising from our opponent’s attacks, but all too often, the final ball would typically drift out of play. We were looking very solid again but still needed that second goal to seal the tie and it eventually came in the 79th minute after clever work on the right wing from Ade Batula, who got to the bye line within the opposition box, crossed and there was Tino Carpene to make it 2-0. There was still just over ten minutes and plenty of injury time to see the game out, which we did and so we marched into the next round on Saturday week.
It would be extremely hard to pick a standout player from last night as all the players who were involved played very well and you could see that at the end of the game, the togetherness in this current squad is excellent. The ‘Rank and file’ (sorry about the pun) of our opposition support were very gracious in defeat, telling us that we were the better team and deserved to go through.
But before we get too excited about the next round of the FA Cup, we turn our attention to the FA Vase competition that Friday evening at the Reg Madgwick Stadium in Cobham against AFC Vardeanians with a 1945 kick-off. The following Tuesday we are playing away against our current homeowners of Cobham FC with another 1945 kick-off before we travel down to the coast to do battle with Eastbourne Town in the FA Cup. Why not come on down to give your support to the team; They would deeply appreciate it.