Hadleigh United 3 Sporting Bengal United 2 match report - Brettsiders make FA Cup progress
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Hadleigh United 3 Sporting Bengal United 2 The Thurlow Nunn League side welcomed Sporting Bengal United from the Essex Senior League to Mill Field for this Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, writes John Campany.
This was the Brettsiders’ first competitive match of the season whilst their East London opponents have picked up a league point from their first two games.
After a deluge the game started in perfect conditions and Hadleigh dominated the early proceedings and went ahead within the first minute.
A cross from the wide right from Kyron Andrews was fumbled by keeper Denzel Kobia and Michael Barwick had the easiest of tasks to head home.
The visitors were again in trouble in the 7th minute when the hapless Kobia infringed against Josh Cheetham and Ben Elliott drilled home the resultant spot kick.
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Hadleigh, who had lost their two pre-season friendly games, were in command driven on by Barwick and Tom Driscoll who took control of the midfield in a sometimes feisty tie.
Ash Veitch went close with a lob from 40 yards whilst at the other end Noris Gelashvili was booked for an exaggerated dive in the box.
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The home side’s inspiring display was further rewarded on 25 minutes when Barwick’s pass culminated in Cheetham’s cross finding Andrews, who drove home from 18 yards.
Driscoll was then denied by Kobia’s outstretched foot and a Cheetham effort struck the post as the home side finished the half well on top.
‘The Bengal Tigers’ improved after the break through their substitutions. They went close when Mark Wheeler headed inches wide from Codey Cameron’s cross and then pulled a goal back on 63 minutes when Shiblu Miah squared to Ashaan Siddik who fired home. Hadleigh’s Driscoll went close, but the visitors increased their intensity with some flair and skill and the home side were beginning to lose control of the mid field.
After some sustained pressure Miah’s free kick on 79 minutes was headed home by Eaia Embald to set up a tense finale.
However the Brettsiders’ resolve and overall performance was sufficient to earn them a place in the next Preliminary Round where they will travel to Hertford Town, who play in the Bostik League Division One North.
Referee: Mr Christopher Hastings
A jubilant Andrew Crisp, the Hadleigh assistant manager deputising for the Brettsiders’ boss Stuart Alston who is on holiday, was full of praise for his side’s efforts that he described as “exceptional”.
He remarked that the pre-season matches had not gone to plan with players either injured or on holiday, but his side was much stronger in this cup tie and showed both “heart and commitment.”
He particularly picked out Kyle Ferguson, Tom Driscoll and Michael Barwick, but stressed this was essentially a “team performance.”
He continued “this is the first time we have progressed through to the preliminary stage of the FA Cup during the past five years.”
He knows that they will face a stiffer hurdle in the next stage with the trip to Hertford, but stated “the team has plenty of potential with players still to return.”