Denied a place in footballing history

FA Cup, 4th Qualifying RoundHaverhill Rovers 0Aldershot Town 4IF ever one thought the magic of the FA Cup was no more then think again.Because ties like the one at Hamlet Croft on Saturday, between Haverhill Rovers of the Ridgeons First Division and Conference hot-shots Aldershot Town, with more than 1,700 fans crammed in, restores one's faith in the world's oldest knock-out cup competition.

FA Cup, 4th Qualifying Round

Haverhill Rovers 0

Aldershot Town 4

IF ever one thought the magic of the FA Cup was no more then think again.

Because ties like the one at Hamlet Croft on Saturday, between Haverhill Rovers of the Ridgeons First Division and Conference hot-shots Aldershot Town, with more than 1,700 fans crammed in, restores one's faith in the world's oldest knock-out cup competition.

Admittedly, at the final whistle Rovers were out of this season's competition after a 4-0 defeat and, because of it, they did not achieve the record of becoming the lowest-ranked club ever to reach the first round proper.

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But the magic of the cup was everywhere on Saturday, giving hope to the minnows and a shot in the arm to the grass roots game.

Aldershot, full-time professionals, were never likely to look this gift horse of progression into the next round in the mouth. And they did all that was asked.

Two goals in each half, they were classy, composed and showed their superior fitness.

However, Rovers equalled their persistence, equalled their stomach for a fight and equalled their competitiveness.

An 18th minute strike by Joel Grant got Aldershot going.

It was a soft goal to concede by Haverhill, especially as they had given as good as they had got in the opening stages. Ten minutes later it was two, when Grant turned provider for Louie Soares and, although Haverhill pushed another man forward after the half-time team talk, the game was over two minutes after the break when Aldershot made it three.

Grant and Smith combined on the right and, when Smith's cross came over, Grant had taken up a wonderful position in the six-yard box to head home.

Shots' veteran left-back Darren Barnard, the ex-Chelsea and Barnsley man who had a penalty saved by Ipswich Town's Richard Wright in the 2000 play-off final at Wembley, made it four with a thunderous free-kick from fully 35 yards which went like an missile into the top corner of the Rovers' net.

Hunt had two chances to pull at least one back for the home side from the spot but Nikki Bull, redundant for much of the time, kept focussed and saved admittedly two fairly ordinary efforts from the home captain.

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