Grays Athletic overcame an extremely tough test in the FA Cup last night, beating Harlow Town 4-2 at The Harlow Arena.
The Ryman Premier League outfit battled their way through to the Second Qualifying Round on the Hawks’ 3G pitch, courtesy of strikes from Jamie Guy, Kenny Beaney, Jordan Wilson and Glen Little. Alex Read’s brace was no more than a consolation for plucky Harlow.
Athletic nudged themselves ahead in the second minute, as a neat passage of passing ended with Guy bundling home from Jay Siva’s cross.
The Hawks levelled proceedings in the 23rd minute as the prolific Alex Read nodded home a free-kick. The sides went in at half time tied at 1-1, but the opening goal of the second half went the way of Grays, despite Harlow having the early pressure. Former Burnley and Reading winger Glen Little worked the magic that was often seen in the big leagues all those years ago and his cross was turned home by captain Kenny Beaney, giving the Blues the lead on 58 minutes.
The game started to run away from the Hawks with 69 minutes on the clock as Jordan Wilson’s curling effort gave Grays a two-goal cushion – that cushion soon became three, as Little’s tame free-kick unfortunately slipped through the grasp of Harlow ‘keeper Dean Driscoll, sealing the tie for the away side.
The hosts were not done, however, with Read adding his second of the night just three minutes later, beautifully striking the ball into the top corner from 25 yards, giving Conor Gough in the Grays goal no chance whatsoever.
The 248 present inside The Harlow Arena clapped both sets of teams off as the final whistle blew – all those that paid the entrance fee certainly got their monies worth.
Harlow Town: Dean Driscoll, Ben Glasgow, Layne Eadie, Joshua Urquhart, Luke Cuthbert, Fabion Simms, Jared Small, David Cowley, Alex Read, James Smith (c), Shane Stamp
Subs: Michael Toner (Stamp, 81), Robbie Martin (Small, 82), Claudio Lorenzani, Danny Norton (Glasgow, 81), Emmanuel Nwanze, Tristan Hickman
Grays Athletic: Conor Gough, Aaron Best-Riley, Jey Siva, Mark Bentley, Manny Parry, Jay Leader, Glen Little, Kenny Beaney (c), Jamie Guy, Chris Bryan, Joao Carlos
Subs: Ruddock Yala, Ed Wootten, Jordan Wilson (Bentley, 64), Akwasi Marfo, Jonathan Glowacki, Joe Benjamin
Bookings: Harlow: Cuthbert, Urquhart. Grays: Best-Riley, Parry.
The replay was needed due to a 2-2 draw at Mill Field on Saturday 13th September. Layne Eadie gave Harlow the lead in the 24th minute, but Jamie Guy equalised for Grays just five minutes before half-time.
Fabion Simms ensured that the Hawks would go in at the break in front, however, as he nodded home Eadie’s cross at the back post. Joao Carlos scored the fourth goal of the game in the 50th minute, but the game would turn sour after, with two red cards in the final 36 minutes.
Aaron Best-Riley saw red in the 54th minute for persistent fouling, whilst fifteen minutes from the end, Fabion Simms was also given his marching orders.
Many thanks to all at Harlow Town for their hospitality, especially Spencer Knight, Phil Tuson and Ray Dyer, who all helped me out in one way or another.
My FA Cup journey now takes me to the Second Qualifying Round, with Grays Athletic hosting Hastings United. An in-depth article on Grays Athletic will be available in the coming days.
Pictures of Tuesday night’s replay are below…
Find out how Grays Athletic got on in the Second Qualifying Round HERE.
Check out the full FA Cup journey here: https://marklitchfieldblog.wordpress.com/fa-cup-20142015/