The team handshake


Jim Taylor

Six Middlesex clubs were in action in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, on Saturday, 19th August.   Your roving reporting team visited Bedfont Sports, for their home tie with Herne Bay.  

We had intended to start our FA Cup coverage 2 weeks beforehand with Ashford Town (Middlesex)’s Extra Preliminary Round tie against AFC Uckfield Town.   Unfortunately, a heavy rainstorm brought about a late postponement and we were not available for the Tangerines subsequent’ 1-0 victory on the following Tuesday.

Bedfont Sports had reached this round of the competition with a thrilling 4-3 away victory over Corinthian FC, at Gay Dawn Farm in Kent, through two goals each from Mark Bitmead and Jake Beck.   Jake scored the winning goal in added time following Mark’s corner kick.   This was Herne Bay’s first match in this season’s competition.

Saturday’s match between two evenly matched sides was hard fought and dominated by the respective defences.   After a goalless and almost chanceless first period, the visitors converted a penalty to go ahead on the hour.   Bedfont then showed great character in a fight-back that saw them equalising in the 11th minute of added time to earn a Tuesday evening visit to Herne Bay.

The match was played on a pleasant sunny afternoon with a little light cloud but with a wind which made control difficult at times.

The goalkeepers didn’t see very much serious action in the first half, as neither side was able to penetrate their opposing rearguard.  

Herne Bay central defender, Harrison Pont had the first attempt on goal in the 7th minute, when he went forward for Harry Brown’s long free kick from wide on the left.   However, Harrison’s header was too high.

In the 12th minute, Bedfont were awarded a free kick just outside the box, despite their appeals for a penalty.   Mark Bitmead hit the free kick wide.

Bedfont Sports remained on the offensive, without success.   More appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears.   Mark Bitmead’s shot from the edge of the penalty box was charged down.   A neat move freed Jordan Ireland but he was dispossessed by a timely tackle.   Visiting keeper, Josh Bexon, comfortably beat Harrison Livingstone to a through ball.

A good run up the left wing by Max Webb produced a free kick but Harrison’s cross cum shot was headed away.   Then a cross from Max evaded Harrison in the goalmouth.

Visiting keeper Josh Bexom foils Mark Bitmead (7)

The best scoring chance of the half fell to Mark Bitmead in the 43rd minute.   Mark was clear with just Josh Bexon to beat but the keeper saved with his feet.

Score at half time:  Bedfont Sports 0   Herne Bay 0

The visitors came more into the game.   A promising run by Theo Osinfolarin was ended by a good interception from Bedfont skipper, Jordan Ireland.

Bedfont’s Trisdon Andrews was tripped by Jacob Gilbert, while in full flight up the right, earning the latter a yellow card.   Jordan’s subsequent free kick was headed away.

Theo Osinfolarin’s close range effort was charged down.

Herne Bay go ahead from the penalty spot

However, Herne Bay went ahead in the 60th minute.   Kane Rowland was brought down just inside the box and Theo hit the resulting penalty low and hard to Henry Poole’s right.

The tempo of the game increased as Bedfont pressed for an equaliser, while leaving themselves more exposed to the counter attack.   Herne Bay’s Gil Carvalho just cleared the Bedfont crossbar from outside the box.

Josh Bexon made another important save with his legs, after a move by Trisdon Andrews and Joe Smith had released Alfie Lal.

Jordan Ireland hits a curling drive...

Josh excelled again in the 73rd minute.   A good run by Trisdon set up Jordan Ireland, whose curling drive was acrobatically turned over the angle of bar and post by Josh.  

...but Josh Bexom saves

Mark Bitmead's wide free kick...

The keeper then turned an awkward bouncing wide free kick by Mark Bitmead over his bar. turned over the bar by the keeper

Herne Bay hit back and the Bedfont defence had to deal with a couple of free kicks into their penalty box, before launching more attacks.   Mark Bitmead’s free kick into the goalmouth was scrambled away.   Then Mark released substitute Josh Eatwell, whose shot was saved.

As the 45 minutes expired, 7 minutes additional time was announced.   This eventually got extended to 11 minutes, as tempers became heated and the referee had to work hard to keep the proceedings under control.

Mark Bitmead came close to scoring, when his 30-yard free kick was deflected for a corner.

Joe Smith (6) prods the equaliser home from close range

Bedfont Sports forced another corner in the final minute of added time.   Everyone, including Sports’ keeper Henry Poole, crowded into the Herne Bay goalmouth, from where the ball was poked home by Joe Smith.                                                                                              

Final Score:  Bedfont Sports 1   Herne Bay 1


Bedfont Sports: Henry Poole, Louis Dailey, Trisdon Andrews, Tommy O’Neil (Kyle Eakin 90), Stephen Langley, Joe Smith, Mark Bitmead, Jordan Ireland (capt), Harrison Livingstone (Dawson Straffon 62), Max Webb and Alfie Lal (Josh Eatwell 77).

Unused substitutes: Blesk Epenyong, Taheen Bentebbal and Jake Brown.

Manager: Barry Chapman   Coaches: Alfie Chapman, Chris Nisbett and Gavin Bamford.   Physio: Andy Nolan.

Herne Bay: Josh Bexon, Jacob Gilbert, Harry Brown, Harrison Pont, Liam Friend (capt), Dan Carringtonj, Gil Carvalho, Archie Burnett, Kane Rowland (Sammi Takalobigashi 90+9), Bola Dawodo and Theo Osinfolarin.

Unused substitutes: Harrison Byford, Jack Richards, Danny Walder, Frankie Smith, Finlay Whitton and Daniel Haastrup.

Manager: Steve Lovell   Coaches: Mark Lovell and Joe Radford   Physio: David Hocking.

Referee: Darren Eton   Assistant Referees: Dominik Ferris and Sam Gregory.

Attendance: 124

Unfortunately, the replay on the following Tuesday at Herne Bay’s Winch’s Field Stadium did not go Sports’ way and they were beaten 3-0.

The other Middlesex teams playing in this round were all drawn away and had varying fortunes, with 2 wins, a draw and 2 defeats.

Hanworth Villa were involved in a 6-3  goalfest at Crawley Down Gatwick.   They led 3-2 at the interval, through goals by Oladimeji Olajubu, Ben Geraghty and Bruno Tingle.   The home side levelled through a 54th minute penalty but goals in the games latter stages from Kyron Richards, Sam Merson and Sam Mead sealed the result.

Jack Roper scored an added time decider for Southall, who won 2-1 at Bearstead.   Jaden Thompson-Brisset scored their other goal.

Uxbridge led twice at Corinthian Casuals before drawing 2-2.   Their scorers were Malachi Thomas and Dean Morgan.   They made no mistake in the replay on Wednesday evening, winning 5-1.

Ashford Town (Middlesex) lost to a single goal, scored by Redhill, in the 82nd minute.

Jamie Fuller put Spelthorne Sports ahead at Newhaven in the 39th minute.   However, Newhaven equalised from the penalty spot just before the interval and then added 6 more goals in the second half, to finish as 7-1 winners.

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