Away day Neutrals FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Match Report

Woodford Town FC 3 (Parrott 31, 77, Rama 56)


London Colney FC 1 (Kalil 8)

The McCullochs Arena, Harlow

Monday 31st August 2020 KO: 7:45pm

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

After a long, enforced break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were back with a bang and a bit of history. This is the first time in the history of the FA Cup that matches from two seasons of the competition have been played in the same month. After the 2019/20 final had been won by Arsenal earlier in August, we were there to witness the first steps of the 2020/21 competition.

We travelled to the home of Harlow Town FC for this match between Woodford Town from the Essex Senior Football League and London Colney from the Spartan South Midland Football League Premier Division.

After such a long break from competitive football it would be interesting to see how both teams coped with the extra physical intensity a cup tie brings.

In the classic yellow/blue/white combination made more famous by the likes of Pele, Zico and Ronaldo (the original one), the home side started the match looking a Brazil side.

In the first minute a quick attack down the right from Samir Ali led to a rasping shot that forced Ellis Blinker in the London Colney goal into a fine fingertip save over the bar. The resulting corner led to another shot that was again saved, more routinely this time, by Blinker.

A few minutes later another deep cross was met at the back post by Ali and his well directed header looked certain to put the hosts 1-0 up, but he was again denied by an acrobatic stop by the keeper.

In the 8th minute however, it all changed when London Colney opened the scoring. A long range shot from Scott Knight could only be parried by James Scammell in the Woodford goal, and Ibrahima Kalil was first to pounce on the rebound with a simple finish.

The goal settled the visitors and the game became a much more even encounter. Both sides were keen to knock the ball around and build attacks from the back which was refreshing to see at this level and this resulted in an entertaining match for the neutrals in the ground.

Much to the delight of the boisterous Woodford Town fans (who did not stop singing and drumming for the entire 90 minutes) the home side drew level just after the half hour mark. A clever ball was slid down the inside of the London Colney right back and latched onto by substitute Luke Parrott who made no mistake with a composed finish.

Half time came with the score at 1-1 and on the balance of play, it was probably a fair result at that stage.

The second half started in much the same fashion as the first half had started, with the home side in the ascendancy. This time however, Blinker in the London Colney goals went from hero to villain.

As a back pass was rolled across the goal, the keeper tried to drag the ball back while under pressure from an approaching forward and unfortunately for him, he got his feet in a bit of a muddle, allowing Rigert Rama, to stab the ball home from close range.

It looked like Woodford would go on from here but the game changed again in the 63rd minute with a red card for the home side’s Shaye La-Rose.

The Woodford centre-half, Evangelos Empochontsif, was guilty of overplaying just outside his area and as he was robbed of possession, the ball broke to Theodore Costa who was hauled down by La-Rose. The referee was quick to show the red card as he deemed La-Rose to be the last man. The error from Empochontsif was a rare moment of inexperience from him, as his overall performance was excellent and, barring this error, was one of the best players on the pitch.

With the numerical advantage the away side pushed for an all important equaliser and forced a few corners and were unlucky when a goalmouth scramble somehow resulted in the ball finding it’s way into the grateful grasp of goalkeeper, Scammell.

It was from a London Colney corener that the match would have it’s final significant turn. The corner was quickly cleared to Parrott on the half way line, who excellently turned the ball into space down the right, spun and sped after it.

After reaching the ball he drove towards goal, beating a defender with a lovely feint before excellently finishing into the bottom right of the goal. It was goal the deserved to win any game and the young substitute lapped up the applause of the home supporters.

The away side tried to respond, but they were unable to breakdown a stout rear guard defence from Woodford and it will be the team from the Essex Senior Football League that will progress to the next round.

It was a fantastic evening of football and an absolute bargain at only £5 for an adult ticket.

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