There were 6 Middlesex FA member clubs playing in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday last, 16th October and County photographer, Chris Benn visited one of them, Bedfont Sports FC, who had reached this stage of the competition for the first time in their history.
The Eagles hosted Kidderminster Harriers, from the National League North, which is two tiers above them in the football pyramid. In the previous rounds Bedfont have disposed of Herne Bay (3-1 at home), Spelthorne Sports (2-0 in a home replay following a 1-1 away draw), Dulwich Hamlet, a National League South side (1- 0 away) and Sholing (2-1 in an away replay following a thrilling 3-3 home draw).
Harriers, who entered the competition at the Second Qualifying Round stage, beat Sporting Khalsa (2-1 away) in that round and then Ware (3-0 in a home replay after drawing 1-1 away).
Bedfont Sports gave an excellent account of themselves on Saturday, before eventually succumbing to the only goal of the match. Harriers proved to be the stronger side and had the balance of possession but the Eagles fought all the way and provided them with a stern test.
The Eagles started well and Ricky Wellard brought an early save from visiting goalkeeper, Luke Simpson after good approach work by skipper Joe Jackson and Darryl Sanders.
Luke Simpson saves with his feet from Bedfont's Ricky Wellard
Play was then largely confined to the midfield for a while, with a just couple of long balls bringing home keeper, Dimitrios Kyriatzis into serious action. His first save came in the 13th minute, when he turned a drive from Sam Austin over his crossbar.
Then Sam Austin was tripped just outside the Bedfont penalty area. Amari Morgan-Smith placed the resulting free around the wall and Dimitrios saved low down by the post. Another Harriers free kick, taken by Ashley Hemmings from approximately 29 yards, narrowly missed the post.
Dimitrios Kyriatzis saves Amari Morgan-Smith's free kick
Jonathan Tadafe interrupted a spell of pressure on the home defence with a run down the left followed by a low cross, which was deflected for a corner. Lewis Pegg just failed to guide the ball into the net during the goalmouth action following the corner kick.
Lewis Pegg just misses for Bedfont following a corner
As the interval approached the Harriers had further chances. A piledriver from Alexander Penny flew narrowly wide. An under pressure Dimitrios punched away Alexander’s menacing cross. Ashley Hemmings released Amari Morgan-Smith, whose first time shot narrowly cleared the bar.
Dimitrios Kyriatzis punches Alexander Penny's cross away
Score at half time: Bedfont Sports 0 Kidderminster Harriers 0
Kidderminster started the second period with a series of attacks. Dimitrios made a diving save from a deflected effort by Ashley Hemmings and a shot from outside the penalty box by Sam Austin was just wide.
Ethan Kaiser relieved the pressure on the home defence with a superb long cross field pass, to release Darryl Sanders. A challenging defender conceded a corner and the visiting keeper saved Connagh Wilks’ header from the kick.
Dimitrios Kyriatzis saves from Ethan Freemantle...
Harriers scored the only goal of the game in the 59th minute. Dimitrios kept out a close range shot from Ethan Freemantle but he couldn’t prevent Amari Morgan-Smith from netting the rebound.
...but Amari Morgan-Smith nets the rebound
Darryl Sanders went close for Bedfont with a free kick from wide on the left, which beat both defenders and attackers to curl past the far post.
Harriers then created several chances. A long cross from Sam Austin was headed just wide by Ashley Hemmings. Then Ashley crossed for Sam, whose well-directed header was pushed out by Dimitrios. A penetrating run by Sam Austin finished with him shooting wide. Dimitrios dived at Ashley’s feet to fall on a long through ball. Then Dimitrios went down to push out a long-range free kick by Omari Sterling.
A Bedfont attack is repelled with time running out
In the closing stages, Bedfont launched a series of attacks and forced some corners but never really threatened to equalise. Their best chance came when Ethon Archer was fouled wide on the left and keeper, Luke Simpson punched away Darryl Sanders’ free kick. During this period of play Harriers still looked dangerous and threatened to score several times on the break, forcing Dimitrios to make further saves.
Final Score: Bedfont Sports 0 Kidderminster Harriers 1
Both sides emerged from this absorbing contest with considerable credit. Bedfont Sports can take pride in their performance in limiting a very good side to the narrowest of winning margins. Goalkeeper, Dimitrios Kyriatzis deserves a separate mention for his outstanding shot stopping. Kidderminster Harriers were excellent. They played very watchable football and the attitude displayed by the players throughout the match was a credit to their club.
Bedfont Sports: Dimitrios Kyriatzis, Kevin Diomande, Jonathan Tadafe, Lewis Pegg (Ethon Archer 77 mins), Ethan Kaiser, Joe Jackson (Charlie Postance 87), Max Webb (Ezekeil Badermosi 67), Jordan Esprit, Darryl Sanders, Ricky Wellard, and Connagh Wilks.
Unused substitutes: Michael Dwayne-Holden, Lewis Flatman, Tom Brunton and Ricardo Andre.
Kidderminster Harriers: Luke Simpson, Alexander Penny, Nathan Cameron, Geraldo Bajrami, Caleb Richards, Mark Carrington, Keziah Martin, Samuel Austin (Keith Lowe 90 mins), Ashley Hemmings, Ethan Freemantle (Omari Sterling 64) and Amari Morgan-Smith (Nyal Bell 86).
Unused substitutes: Jack Tolley, Jaiden White, Kai Lissimore and Jamie Emery.
Referee: Ben Atkinson Assistant Referees: Luigi Lungarella and Michael Scott Fourth Official: Richard Wharton.
Only Harrow Borough of the Middlesex affiliated clubs playing in this round on Saturday won. They were at home to Chelmsford City and came from 1-2 down, at the interval to win 4-2. James Ewington scored a hat trick and Imran Uche added a fourth.
However, Hayes and Yeading United drew with Dorking Wanderers at the latter club’s picturesque Meadowbank Stadium, through first half goals by Amos Nasha and Francis Amartey. They replay at the SkyEx Stadium on Tuesday.
The remaining 3 clubs lost. Hampton & Richmond Borough were defeated at Ebbsfleet United’s Stonebridge Road ground by 2 first half goals without replying.
Barnet lost at the Hive to a scrappy second half Boreham Wood goal.
Finally, despite going ahead in the 7th minute through Jay Bird, Wealdstone bowed out to goals by Angelo Balanta in the 88th and 90th minutes of their home match against Dagenham & Redbridge. The visitors had been reduced to 10 men in the 2nd minute, when Paul McCullum was shown the red card for a foul tackle.
Following their Fourth Qualifying Round Replay, Hayes & Yeading triumphed as they and Dorking Wanderers played out 120 minutes of football and could still not be separated. Hayes & Yeading secured their place in the First Round of The FA Cup, winning 4-3 on penalties.
The First Round draw has sent Harrow Borough on a journey down to the South Coast, where they will play the winners from 2008, Portsmouth for a place in the Second Round of The Cup. Whilst Hayes & Yeading will host the surprise package of the 2016/17 competition and now League 2, Sutton United at the SkyEx Stadium, with both ties being played at 3pm on Saturday 6th November, good luck to both sides.
As ever we thank Chris Benn who was on hand to capture the key moments of an important match of the history of Bedfont Sports.
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Photography avalable courtesy of Chris Benn