Nine Essex Senior League teams progressed in the FA Cup at the weekend, while three face replays.
By Scott Lanza
Takeley move into the Preliminary Round after overcoming a 1-0 half-time deficit to run out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from Stuart Zanone and Mitchell Das. They had to wait until Sunday to find out who they would be facing in the next round as they were due to face the winners of the Stansted v Sawbridgeworth Town tie. That local derby provided plenty of thrills and spills, with the Robins opening the scoring in first half stoppage time when Jack Cousins crashed a shot into the back of the net. But the Airportmen replied inside two second half minutes as Callum Ibe slotted past Jarvis Monk.
The Airportmen maybe had more of the play in the second half, but the Robins did their cause no favours as they were reduced to nine men. Courtney Homans then fired home the winner for Stansted in the 79th minute setting up an all-ESL Preliminary Round clash against Takeley. Sporting Bengal United fell behind to a Yemi Adelani goal but then scored three times inside ten first half minutes as David Vaughan plus a Zakariya Hoque brace put the hosts in a commanding 3-1 half-time lead. The game looked done and dusted by the time Bobby Redwood added Bengal’s fourth goal of the afternoon just before the hour mark. But a late Foxes come back saw Adelani score twice in the final five minutes to claim his hat-trick but it wasn’t enough to salvage anything for his side that go out at the first hurdle.
Sporting Bengal now go on to face Brentwood Town away in the next round. West Essex now face an away tie with Heybridge Swifts – something that looked unlikely only a quarter of an hour in at Burnham Ramblers as by that time they had gone into a 2-0 lead with Charlie Grey and Karl Swanborough both hitting the target early. Symeon Taylor pulled one back in the 25th minute, Hakim Medfai levelled the tie in the 50th minute before Ramblers re-took the lead two minutes via Ashley Pibworth. Callum Bloss then equalised for West Essex via the spot in the 65th minute, with Isaac Marfo-Jacobs then scoring in the 68th minute to hand West Essex the lead for the first time in the game. Five minutes later and that lead was extended when Bloss again fired home from the spot to complete an amazing turnaround.
There was late drama too at Lower Road as Hullbridge, trailing to a 17th minute Joel Watts goal, levelled the tie in the 83rd minute via an Adebola Sotoyinbo penalty before snatching victory deep in stoppage time courtesy of a Nathan Scarborough strike. The reward for that endeavour is a visit to Newmarket Town who beat Cockfosters 2-0. Rhys Fatt fired Southend Manor into an early lead over FC Romania. But the Wolves put in a second half performance that saw George Taban, Felix Lupu and Vlad Sighiartau all put their names on the score sheet to see their team through via a 3-1 win.
Redbridge crashed out at the hands Long Melford by the same score line but this time when AJ Adelekan found the net for the Motormen it was only to reduce arrears. Hassan Ally gave Long Melford the lead in the 6th minute and Steve Adams doubled that lead five minutes before the break. David Lopez looked to have taken the game beyond Redbridge’s reach in the 49th minute when he converted a penalty. Adelekan’s goal a minute later sadly did not launch a revival.
The Tower Hamlets v Stanway Rovers games was abandoned in the 80th minute by which time Marley Okosi, Lewis Stantiall and Regan Farley-Hearn had fired Stanway Rovers into a 3-1 lead, with Amon Owen notching for Tower Hamlets. The result is currently pending, with Haringey Borough waiting next once the matter has been decided; in either case it means another ESL team into the Preliminary Round. Walthamstow’s 3-1 win over Walsham le Willows is not shrouded in uncertainty and so they now make the trip to Felixstowe & Walton United in the next round – Rhea Josephs, Junior Appiah and James Peagram scored the goals that got them there. Hoddesdon Town were handed an 11th minute lead by Harry Bushell but the hosts replied via Craig Handy just after the half hour mark. Oliver Gnandi struck for Hoddesdon in the 71st minute and Joss Lillis wrapped things up four minutes later.
Hoddesdon could potentially be facing an all-ESL tie with Saffron Walden Town if they can overcome Wroxham in a replay on Tuesday. The Bloods had to travel to Wroxham in the initial tie and took a 36th minute lead via Dan Trendall which they held onto until the 82nd minute when Sonny Carey equalised. Clapton host Woodbridge Town on Tuesday after their game finished 2-2. Callum Harvey and George Bowman were the Woodbridge marksmen with Jerome Martelli and Ryan Reed scoring for the Tons. Leyton Athletic and Barkingside will also have to go at it again after the first encounter at Cricklefield ended in a goalless draw.
Both keepers earned clean sheets without having to do too much work and both teams will be aware that there has to be a winner on Wednesday, which bags prize money as well as a trip to last season’s ESL champions Great Wakering Rovers. Cassidy Sinclair and Mark Summers notched the St. Margaretsbury goals in a 2-0 win over Enfield. But credit must be given to Reece Grundy who saved a penalty on route to claiming a clean sheet. Those heroics now see them travelling to Long Melford in the Preliminary Round.