Two strikes in the final five minutes condemned plucky Baldock Town to defeat in their FA Cup Preliminary Qualifying Round tie against Harlow Town on Sunday.
Chinedu McKenzie and Fabion Simms put the game beyond doubt in the 85th and 89th minutes respectively, following up Alex Read’s opener from the penalty spot after 18 minutes, as Baldock goalkeeper Nick Stilwell saw red for bringing down the goalscorer inside the box.
The tie saw the tenth tier meet the eighth, as Spartan South Midlands League outfit Baldock hosted their Ryman League Division One North counterparts, Harlow Town.
After an even start to the game, the pendulum swung the way of the visitors in the 15th minute. After a neat passage of passing from the Hawks, Alex Read found himself bearing down on goal. Town ‘keeper Nick Stilwell had no choice but to upend the number 10, receiving his marching orders as a result. Seventeen year-old reserve Connor Hills’ first job was to pick the ball out of his net, as Read dusted himself down and slotted home to give Harlow Town the lead.
The home side tried to get back into the game and, despite their man disadvantage, almost proved successful in doing so, with the influential Jack Gregson pulling the strings. Their main chance – their golden chance – fell at the feet of Nathan Aulsberry just past the hour.
A ball in behind the visiting defence was somehow fumbled by Hawks stopper Tristan Hickman, but as the goal gaped for Aulsberry, he inexplicably shot wide, to the horror of everyone associated with Baldock inside Top Field.
Ten-man Baldock continued to pepper the Harlow goal, with Jack Gregson testing Hickman on a couple of occasions, but their efforts were in vein as five minutes from time, the game was sealed. The outstanding Connor Hills blocked yet another Alex Read strike, but could only palm the ball into the path of substitute Chinedu McKenzie, who thumped home, sending the visiting fans and management into ecstasy.
A third goal was added shortly before the end as Read and Fabion Simmons combined in the box, with the latter sliding home past Hills, giving the scoreline a somewhat harsh gloss from a Baldock perspective.
The full-time whistle blew not long after and Baldock Town’s FA Cup adventure was over. The journey now continues with Harlow Town, as they prepare to meet Grays Athletic in the First Qualifying Round on Saturday September 13th.
Baldock Town: Nick Stilwell (S/O 15′), Josh Furness, Alex Coppin, Dean Gilbert (c), Michael Payne, Lewis Barker, Ian Morrison, Luke Gregson, Nathan Aulsberry, Jack Gregory, Luke Hennessey. Subs: Lee Pateman (on for Coppin 78′), Connor Hills (on for Hennessey 15′), Sean Morrison, Kane Dougherty (on for Barker 78′), Tom Oram
Harlow Town: Tristan Hickman, Ben Glasgow, Layne Eadie, Joshua Urquhart, David Kendall, Jared Small, Shane Stamp, Emmanuel Nwanze, Fabion Simms, Alex Read, David Cowley. Subs: Daniel Fry (on for Small 87′), Chinedu McKenzie (on for Stamp 57′), Claudio Lorenzani (on for Nwanze 45′), Danny Norton, Ed Thompson.
Find out how Harlow Town got on in the First Qualifying Round HERE.
Check out the full FA Cup journey here: https://marklitchfieldblog.wordpress.com/fa-cup-20142015/