Punjab United 0-1 Broadbridge Heath - It's such a shame for our fans' we couldn't go and finish it off or at least get a draw, says Punjab United boss Jugjit Sian

Saturday 10th August 2019
Punjab United 0 – 1 Broadbridge Heath
Location Elite Venue, Dunkirk Close, Gravesend, Kent DA12 5ND
Kickoff 10/08/2019 12:30

The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Saturday 10 August 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Elite Venue

PUNJAB UNITED manager Jugjit Sian says Broadbridge Heath were there for the taking after their FA Cup debut ended in heartbreak.


A crowd of 204 were in attendance at the Elite Venue in Gravesend to watch Sian’s men take part in The FA Cup for the first time in front of the BBC Sport Television cameras.

Steve Painter guided Broadbridge Heath to their maiden FA Cup victory, courtesy of George Goodwin’s own-goal on the stroke of half-time to set up a lucrative trip to Isthmian League South East Division giants Hastings United in the Preliminary Round in two weeks’ time.

Broadbridge Heath, which is based just outside Horsham in West Sussex, started their Southern Combination Premier Division campaign with a 5-1 defeat at Langney Wanderers in Eastbourne at the weekend and hosted Loxwood at their brand new ground at Wickhurst Lane in midweek, drawing 2-2 and came into this tie sitting in fifteenth-place.

Punjab United, meanwhile, were second-from-bottom in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, courtesy of their 2-1 opening day defeat at Beckenham Town last weekend.

Goodwin’s headed own-goal, following a mistake from Punjab United goalkeeper Joe Hagan, ensured Broadbridge Heath have banked £2,250 in prize money, while Punjab United bank £750 exit money.

“Gutting really. I thought we were the better side from when we started to the end,” admitted Sian.

“We should’ve had three goals, one thing I said to them at the end there, we’ve got to finish and that was the fine margin, we didn’t finish!

“They got a freak goal with the wind, just gutting. It’s a bit deflating. We didn’t get the luck of the green. I think the second goal, he should’ve buried that and that would have given us a lifeline and maybe a replay, gone back up there. I think we deserved that at least.”

Reflecting on Punjab United making their FA Cup debut, Sian, who is also the chairman, said: “It’s been fantastic! It’s like waking up on Christmas morning. I couldn’t sleep last night. I was really excited. You could tell by the crowd, it’s been unbelievable!

“I thank the fans for coming out and supporting us today. We’ve had fans from all over, all over London as well, which is nice to come and watch the club play. It’s such a shame that we didn’t get the result for them.”

The windy weather, coupled by a bobbly pitch and the occasion of being shown live on BBC platforms, ensured the first half was a tense and nervy affair with little quality in key areas.

Punjab United were gifted their first opening in the tenth minute, which ineffective striker Laurent Hamici failed to take.

He was lurking inside the Broadbridge Heath penalty area by the time visiting keeper Conor Evento attempted to launch his clearance up field but Hamici pressed him, blocked the clearance, cut inside but Evento made amends by using his knee to ensure the ball flashed past the far post and behind for a corner.

“I think he should’ve squared it to Adam (Cuthbert) really, I think Adam was in a better position to come into the box and it would’ve given him a better chance,” added Sian, who uses his nickname Chipie.

“He scuffed it in the end. I thought if he put his foot through it, maybe we would’ve gone 1-0 up and I think we would’ve won the game then, no problem.”

Punjab United’s holding midfielder Adam Cuthbert clipped the ball down the left-channel for winger Stephen Ratcliff to unleash a left-footed angled drive from 25-yards, which was spilt by Evento on his knees at his near post before gathering the loose ball at the second attempt.

“It was hard up the hill and we were up against the wind and I thought we played better up against the wind. We started playing a bit of football,” said Sian.

“I told them to keep the ball down on the foot in this weather. It’s such a shame really, we didn’t hit the target enough!”

Broadbridge Heath took 18 minutes to create their first chance when wide-man Scott Weller found a pocket of space to drive down the heart of the pitch before playing the ball inside to Lee Carney, who drilled his 35-yarder towards the far corner and the ball took a wicked bounce in front of Hagan, who did well to scoop the ball behind for a corner.

“I think the wind took that more than anything else and he just got away with that,” admitted Sian.

“He tried to hit that over, past the post. He done a good save. I don’t think that would’ve troubled him in a normal game.”

Ratcliff delivered a hanging deep corner from the right towards the far post where Paul Lorraine came up from the back to rise above the flapping keeper only to loop his header over the crossbar.

The windy conditions and playing surface made it difficult to get the ball down and play as it was bouncing around like a hand grenade and a poor touch from Adam Cuthbert saw him lose the ball to Andy Waddingham and Hagan rushed off his line and received a lucky run of the ball as Jamie Taylor pressed him and his clearance bounced off the Broadbridge Heath number 10 and behind for a goal-kick.

Ratcliff played the ball in from the left and Hamici dropped deep to collect the ball before drilling his right-footed shot sailing over the top of the far post from 30-yards.

But Broadbridge Heath grabbed the winner with 44 minutes and 39 seconds on the clock, courtesy of an own-goal.

Midfielder Goodwin scrapped for possession but in doing so bundled over Tom Howard-Bold some 30-yards from goal down the right-hand side.

Howard-Bold looped in the resulting free-kick from the right which should have been dealt with by Hagan, who allowed the ball to sail over his right-shoulder before flicking the ball against his own crossbar.

As the ball dropped, Broadbridge Heath’s central-defender Marlon Maxwell attempted to hook the ball over the line but Goodwin headed the ball into his own net from close range.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t really see who put it in the back of the net! I was more fuming, I thought Joe should’ve been on his line. I don’t think why he needed to come out. It is windy, it was a nothing ball, where was it going? Absolutely nowhere but when he came off his line, he tried to parry it over,” said Sian.

“That sort of goal was one of those sort of freak goals and it gives them the advantage for no reason whatsoever really because they didn’t do anything all game.

“I don’t think Joe actually saved a shot. I don’t think they even had a shot from outside of the box. They came with a game plan, they got a lucky goal and we just couldn’t break them down in the end.”

There was still time for Howard-Bold to float in a second free-kick, a bit further out than his first one, but the angle was too tight for right-back Martyn Flack, who found space on the by-line but was in too minds what to do with his header and steered his effort wide of the near post.

“At half-time I said to them they were lucky with the goal. It was a freak but we have played ok,” said Sian.

“But we needed to play quicker and we need to be on the halfway line putting pressure back on.

“We started off a little bit sluggish, we didn’t start too well but the last 20 minutes (of the second half) we actually played really well and created chances then.

“I tried to get Steve (Ratcliff) to get off the full-back and get up because their full-back wasn’t pushing so I pushed both winger and full-backs up and it sort of worked.”

The second half started flat for both teams but Broadbridge Heath created a chance following another set-piece down the right.

Howard-Bold, a tall midfielder, floated the ball in from the right and centre-half Josh Tuck steered his header wide at the far post inside the opening nine minutes.

“I think that was the only chance I saw to be honest and that was half-a-chance anyway,” added Sian.

Punjab United enjoyed a spell of possession in the 18th minute when Adam Cuthbert played the ball into Hamici, who teed up substitute striker Tunde Aderonmu, who swept his shot towards the bottom corner from 22-yards, forcing Evento to get down low to his right to hold.

“Tunde was a bit late today, he probably would’ve started if he got here on time. He had a few things to do this morning at work,” revealed Sian.

“He broke through but he didn’t really catch it and it’s an easy save for the keeper.”

Sian changed formation for the final 20 minutes as they went with three men at the back and pushed bodies forward in search of an equaliser that they certainly deserved.

Centre-half Paul Lorraine drove forward with the ball at his feet approaching the final third before feeding Adam Cuthbert, who dragged his left-footed shot so much that Evento made a comfortable save on his knees.

Broadbridge Heath offered very little in an attacking sense as they soaked up the pressure with Maxwell and Tuck resilient in the heart of their hard working defence.

A poor clearance from keeper Hagan should have been gobbled up by Howard-Bolt, but a lucky ricochet ensured the ball bounced wide of the left-hand post.

Punjab United should have equalised with 10 minutes remaining when referee Luke Chapman awarded a free-kick just 22-yards from goal.

Adam Cuthbert had the entire goal to aim at but stroked his right-footed free-kick straight down Evento’s throat.

“Adam was perfect at those, he loves those sort of positions and he scored loads of goals like that last year,” said Sian.

“I don’t know what it was but he hit it straight down the middle and I think either side of the goalkeeper, it would’ve been a goal with that pace, he would’ve have got that.

“I was kicking myself thinking should I have gone with someone else? But I chose Adam, I thought he would’ve buried that!”

Broadbridge Heath produced a nice move to kill the game off inside the final seven minutes.

Howard-Bolt fed Taylor, who played Scott Weller in behind Ratcliff (who was now playing left-wing-back) but after flicking the ball with his left-foot, Hagan came off his line to smother the ball at the winger’s feet inside the box.

“I was getting more frustrated because I think they were there for the taking,” added Sian.

“I brought young Janiah Boyd on and I thought he would give a bit of energy on one side and Ayomide Majekdonmi in the middle and it sort of created a few things for us.

“We were going for it then and I left a back three by then so we were actually pressurising then and it was one of those where we get caught maybe but Joe done really well to smother that.”

Punjab United then missed a sitter with only 94 seconds of normal time left.

Winger Chandler Kasai got the better of substitute left-back Cameron Watts down the right channel and crossed low for substitute Janiah Boyd, who missed the ball completely and the ball fell in Ratcliff’s path, drilling his left-footed shot past the foot of the left-hand post from 16-yards.

“Oh yes, that was a chance! THAT was a chance! Normally he’s great when he’s striking. I think he tried to swerve it a little with the wind but I thought that was in! I actually jumped before he hit it because I trusted his left-foot.  If that was on target, bang that was a goal!”

Broadbridge Heath played their get-out-of-jail card, two minutes and 51 seconds into time added on.

The away side cleared their lines, Simon Cuthbert drilled the ball back into the final third with a low pass straight down the heart of the pitch.  Adam Cuthbert dinked the ball through and substitute Ayomide Majekdonmi could have gone down in history by scoring Punjab’s first ever FA Cup goal. Instead he hooked his shot across the diving keeper and the ball agonisingly kissed the far post.

“I think more than their keeper, the wind took it. When you see it from this angle, the wind took it just enough,” admitted a frustrated Sian.

“I think he should’ve hit it low and hard. It was there to take it, open goal on that side, it was just unlucky. He’s been playing very well. He was unlucky. I’m not putting no pressure on him. If he hit it low and hard, it’s a goal!”

Despite dominating, the ball just wouldn’t go in. There was time for one final chance when Hamici crossed low from within the right-channel but Ratcliff slid the ball straight into Evento’s gloves at his near post.

“I’m getting messages on my phone now saying we should’ve been three-up. It’s right, I think we deserved the win. We played better, we were there at home. It’s such a shame for our fans we couldn’t go and finish it off, or at least get a draw,” said Sian.

Could touching The FA Cup when it was on show inside the new clubhouse on Friday afternoon struck a curse for Punjab United today?

“It’s amazing! One of the best days to be honest. Looking back four or five years’ ago when we were playing Sunday League football in the North Kent Sunday League, I’ll never thought we’d come out and being in semi-professional football,” said Sian.

“The FA Cup was a target for me personally when we got into playing Saturday football. I wanted to play in The FA Cup, that will be my legacy.

“With the likes of Greenways here and Guru Nanak here they never got it, they’ve done it with 50-60 years’ of history and we’ve only been going for four years’ and we’ve done it, so we’re the first ones to do it and no one can ever take it away from us now.

“We had The FA cup here yesterday and we had 400 people turn up and go and see it. I picked it up, it was good.  Cursed? I don’t believe in that, ever!

“It’s fantastic! The local community came up and took photos with their kids with the Cup. It was a great day yesterday. We paid the expenses to get it here as a club and it’s something for me to give back to the local community.”

On their exit prize money, Sian revealed: “It all helps. We’ve built the new changing rooms, clubhouse, the money will go towards that as well, which is great.”

Punjab United return to Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division action when Crowborough Athletic visit here next Saturday.

“The team’s quite new, we got rid of five or six players and we’ve brought five or six players’ in and it will take time for that to gel and until we get that right it’s going to be a little bit hit and miss.”

Punjab United:  Joe Hagan, Simon Cuthbert, Luqman Adesina (Janiah Boyd 70), Adam Cuthbert, Paul Lorraine, Giannoulis Fakinos, Chandler Kasai, George Goodwin (Ayomide Majekdonmi 75), Laurent Hamici, Nicholas Donaldson (Tunde Aderonmu 54), Stephen Ratcliff.
Subs: Lee Kidman, Taudev Gosal, Rohan Badbagi, Prem Jayabrathi

Booked: Adam Cuthbert 90

Broadbridge Heath: Conor Evento, Martyn Flack, Jamie Robinson (Cameron Watts 74), Andy Waddingham, Josh Tuck, Marlon Maxwell, Lee Carney, Tom Howard-Bold (Alfie Jones 90), Jamie Taylor, George Cousins, Scott Weller (Rob Godfrey 86).
Subs: Ben Whiteley, Fraser Trigwell

Goal: George Goodwin 45 (own goal)

Booked: Jamie Robinson 67

Attendance: 204
Referee: Mr Luke Chapman (Horley, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Rodney Van Niekerk (Sutton, Surrey) & Mr Oliver Westgate (Crawley, West Sussex)