There were 4 Middlesex FA member clubs playing in the Third Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup, all of them at home, on Saturday last, 2nd October and County photographer, Chris Benn visited one of them, Bedfont Sports FC.
Bedfont Sports had underlined their impressive upward progress as a club in recent years by winning 1-0 at Dulwich Hamlet, in the previous round and as a result of that win they were entertaining Sholing, from the Southern League South Division 1. In the earlier rounds Sports had disposed of Herne Bay (Home 3-1) and Spelthorne Sports (Home 2-0 in a replay following a 1-1 draw).
Sports made an impressive start to a match that was played in heavy rain throughout. They went ahead in the third minute, through a low cross shot by Darryl Sanders, from the edge of the penalty area, into the far corner of the net.
...and Bedfont Sports go 1-0 up
Darryl then went close with a curling drive which flew narrowly wide but the visitors then hit back with a series of attacks. Bedfont keeper, Dimitrios Kyriatzis had to stretch to keep out a wicked high cross. A penetrating run up the right wing, by Sholing’s Brad Targett, set up Stuart Green, who tested Dimitrios. The keeper then pushed a 25 yard freekick from Joe Adams around his post.
Bedfont Sports keeper Dimitrios Kyriatzis stretches to keep out a wicked high cross
Bedfont doubled their advantage in the 32nd minute. A clever piece of sleight-of-foot by Darryl Sanders took him clear of his marker before he slipped the ball to Joe Jackson, who slid it home.
Joe Jackson doubles Bedfont Sports lead
Then, 2 minutes later, Bedfont’s Ricky Wellard burst through the middle and blasted the ball home, to put his side into a seemingly impregnable position.
...and Bedfont Sports are 3-0 up
Score at half time: Bedfont Sports 3 Sholing 0
However, Sholing made 2 substitutions and changed their formation for the second half and took the game to Bedfont. Almost immediately, Dimitrios Kyriatzis was forced to save at Byron Mason’s feet. Then, Dan Mason was fouled, in a central position 25 yards out and the resulting free kick by Stuart Green was turned over the cross bar by the keeper.
Sholing’s pressure was rewarded in the 56th minute, when Stuart Green headed home following a corner.
Stuart Green heads Sholing's first goal
Bedfont then had several chances to restore their 3 goal advantage . Jordan Esprit’s run through the middle was eventually halted by the weight of numbers. Kevin Diomande headed a good chance wide. A drive from Darryl Sanders was parried by keeper Ryan Gosney and Jonathan Tadafe drove wide from the rebound.
Sholing scored a second goal in the 70th minute through Brad Targett, who headed Rob Nicholl’s cross home. Then Stuart Green’s diving header, from Claudio Herbert’s cross was just wide.
Brad Targett heads Rob Nicholl's cross home for Sholing's second goal
The electric scoreboard then clicked on for the remainder of the 90 minutes, with Sports holding on to their diminished advantage reasonably comfortably. However, in the second of the 3 additional minutes, Sholing snatched a remarkable draw, when Marvin McLean’s cross from the right was hit home first time by Stuart Green.
Stuart Green nets Sholing's equaliser
The visitors then had a chance to win the match in the last minute, when Claudio Herbert hit the Bedfont post with the last kick of the match.
So, Bedfont Sports now face a tricky Tuesday evening journey to deepest Hampshire, with the prize for the winners being a home tie against either Ware or Kidderminster Harriers.
Bedfont Sports: Dimitrios Kyriatzis, Kevin Diomande, Jonathan Tadafe, Ethan Kaiser, Joe Jackson (capt), Mark Webb, Ricky Wellard, Michael Dwayne-Holden (80 mins Charlie Postance), Jordan Esprit, Darryl Sanders and Connagh Wilks.
Unused substitutes: Owen Cartwright, Lewis Flatman, Tom Brunton, Ethon Archer and George Gay.
Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Brad Targett, Marvin McLean, Rob Nicholls, Dan Miller, Joe Adams (46 mins Charlie Wagstaff), Claudio Herbert, Byron Mason (capt), Dan Mason, Stuart Green and Jack Cope (46 mins Mitchell Byrne).
Unused substitutes: Luke Deacon, Martin Buckland, Yurno Wan, Nathan Gray and Tomasz Gruzewski.
Referee: Jack Oxenham Assistant Referees: James Kiers and Nigel Owen.
The other 3 Middlesex clubs playing in this round won their matches.
Hayes and Yeading United beat Whitehawk 3-2, through first half goals by Amos Nasha (2) and Francis Amartey, despite a spirited second half comeback by the Sussex side.
Harrow Borough beat Marlow 2-1 with goals from James Ewington and James Mansfield, who hit the winning goal in the 87th minute.
Hampton & Richmond Borough overcame Wimborne Town 3-1, through second half goals from Deadfield, Slew and Fisher.
Middlesex Senior Cup competitors, Wingate & Finchley drew 1-1 at Corinthian Casuals, also replay on Tuesday. Alphanso Kennedy scored their equaliser with 10 minutes remaining.
Following their mid-week trip to Sholing, Bedfont Sports ran out 2-1 winners, and have reached the Fourth Qualifying Round for the first time in the Clubs history, and they will now face off against Kidderminster Harriers at the Recreation Ground on Saturday 16th October.
We would like to thank our photographer Chris Benn, who as ever, was on hand to snap all the key moments of this mamouth tie.
Photography available courtesy of Chris Benn