It was a historic day for our TeamSnap ‘Search for a Giantkillers’ club Longlevens on Saturday, as they marked their first ever FA Cup game with a win.
A 4-2 win over Bedfont and Feltham put the Levens into the Preliminary Round and they face an away tie at Evo-Stik Southern Premier League Division One Central club Farnborough.
Their historic win on Saturday sparked joyous celebrations at the club, with champagne corks popping in the home changing room even before manager James French got in there after the full-time whistle.
French believes that the celebrations were fuelled by, not only the win, but also by a sense of relief that the club had acheived their first FA Cup win.
He said “It was a boiling hot day so I spent five minutes outside shaking hands with supporters and when I got into the changing rooms one of the lads had already opened a bottle of champagne.
“Maybe it was a bit early for that because we’ve only won one FA Cup game but that was good to see.
“It was a relief because we didn’t want to become part of club history by just playing in the FA Cup, we wanted to become part of the club history by winning in the FA Cup.
“The real history can now be made by having a good run and it was important for us to win a game in the competition and we had a few beers to celebrate on Saturday night”
Fisher praised his side after putting a number of setbacks behind them during the game.
Defender Ellis Sausman was taken off with just a minute on the clock, forcing Fisher to move midfielder Adam Hughes into his back four.
After getting off to a slow start Levens fell behind in the seventeenth minute with Luke Craig putting the visitors ahead with a free kick but a quickfire double put the hosts a goal ahead within five minutes of going behind.
And French felt that once his side were ahead, they were never in danger of losing the tie.
“Preparation for the game was good but unfortunately one of our centre backs suffered an injury in the first minute, that wasn’t in the script.
“One of the midfielders dropped into defence and did an exceptional job.
“It was similar to our opening league game and in pre-season, we haven’t started great and it was a bit rabbit in the headlights.
“We didn’t play as well as we could in the opening stages but we showed character to bounce back and turn the game around in a five-minute spell.
“We dominated from there and we created a lot of opportunities.
“I never felt we would lose the game and I felt once we were ahead we would have enough quality to win it, which we did and it was a great occasion for the club”
A crowd of 178 witnessed the Gloucestershire club’s big day, leaving French joking that his players are normally used to playing in front of “one man and his dog”.
But he praised the backing his side received, admitting that the support played a part in their win.
“The support we had was excellent. There were 178 there, which is big for our club and we had other teams at the club there and it was great to see the support for the lads
It took some adjusting to because normally it’s one man and his dog watching us but we settled and used to crowd to spur us on”
Bedfont and Feltham came into the tie on the back of a 9-2 home hammering against Epsom and Ewell.
But French felt that the Cherry Red Records Combined Countied Football League didn’t show any effects of their previous defeat, although did admit that after a season of success last time out they may need to get used to playing under pressure.
He said “They had a go at us.
“Yes, they had a very disappointing start to their league campaign but you couldn’t tell during the game on Saturday.
“They had a lot of success last season getting promoted into step five and they had some really good players.
“Maybe when the going got tough, you could see the bickering and falling out a little, so maybe they need to get used to be under pressure and relying on a team ethic but they played their part in a good cup tie”
Attention now turns back to the Levens’ Hellenic League campaign as they travel to Brackley Town Saints on Saturday.
However, in the back of their minds is their FA Cup Preliminary Round tie against Farnborough and although going into the tie as underdogs, French admitted that they won’t be sitting back against their Step Four opponents.
“Confidence is high and we relish being the underdog.
“In the Hellenic Premier we play a lot of teams with big budgets and we go there with that underdog status.
“But because of our spirit, the way the boys are together, we feel we can go there with a system and shape to help us.
“We will try and have Farnborough watched and see what they are about but we are confident.
“We aren’t going to sit in and try and get a draw, we will go there with the intention of trying to win the game”
Interview: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)