The FA Cup comes down to which team wants to win the most, says Bromley coach Hugo Langton

Friday 10th October 2014
FOUR Kent clubs will be looking to progress through to the last qualifying round of The FA Cup this weekend.

EBBSFLEET UNITED are in fourth-place in the Vanarama Conference South after their goal-less draw against Eastbourne Borough at Stonebridge Road in midweek.

“Tuesday’s game was a very competitive match and after a very well matched first 45 minutes, I thought we took control of the game and dominated the second half,” said Ebbsfleet boss Steve Brown.

“Obviously it would have been fantastic to have won the game but there were plenty of positives to take from the night.

“The performance was very good and we are still unbeaten at home. We’ve kept seven clean sheets in eleven league games and we’ve solidified a place in the play-off positions.”

The Fleet have collected 20 points from 11 games and they welcome league leaders Basingstoke Town to Stonebridge Road in The FA Cup tomorrow.

Basingstoke Town have won their last four competitive games and sit four points clear of Brown’s boys going into the game.

“The FA Cup tie against Basingstoke will be another very difficult game against the current league leaders,” said Brown, whose side lost at Dartford in a replay in the last qualifying round last season.

“The players’ are prepared for a tight game and the mood in the camp is very good.

“We’d all like to progress as the next round opens up the Conference teams and then you are one win away from the First Round proper, which is something we came very close to achieving last year.

“We have no injury problems from the other night and the squad is getting bigger all the time giving me more strength in depth.”

BROMLEY travel to play Grays Athletic, looking to replicate the club’s heroics back in 2006.

Bromley were a Ryman Premier League side in 2006 when they travelled to the then Conference club in the Fourth Qualifying Round and two goals from now Ashford United player-assistant manager Lloyd Blackman produced a shock 2-1 win for Mark Goldberg’s side.

Grays Athletic now hire Aveley’s ground and ply their trade in the Ryman Premier League, while Bromley are fifth-place in the Vanarama Conference South going into tomorrow’s tie.

Reflecting on the joys of that day, Blackman told “I wouldn’t have cared who scored that day.  I was just so happy to be part of a side that achieved so much.

“I remember being in the changing room after the game and I was sitting next to big Francis Duku.  Mark (Goldberg) came in and told us the draw and it really was the icing on the cake that day.

“Going to Gillingham was a great experience. We were the talk of the town, if not the whole of the south-east for what we were achieving as a non-league side.”

Bromley went down to a 4-1 defeat to the Gills, but Blackman said: “We certainly didn’t disgrace ourselves. It was always going to be hard to get a result.  We went out there to enjoy the day and we did just that.

“All of the supporters that came and the whole town really were jubilant about what we’d achieved and Mark took us all out for a meal after the game which was great.”

Reflecting on his current role at Southern Counties East Football League side Ashford United, Blackman said: “I’ve now moved into coaching at Ashford. Even when I was at Bromley it was on the back of a hip operation and to be honest it gradually began to fail on me over six or seven years.

“I’m really enjoying the coaching side of things and hopefully will one day progress into management, but I’m taking it slow for now and learning a lot.

“I’m happy to come off the bench for 10-15 minutes if needed but the aim now is coaching and it’s something I really enjoy.”

Bromley go into tomorrow’s game on the back of a 1-1 draw at Bishop’s Stortford on Tuesday night.

Coach Hugo Langton said: “It was a good game on Tuesday night. We didn’t start brightly but I felt we started to control the game, especially in the second half and we were all a bit gutted not to have won.”

Langton hopes the Ravens avoid being on the back of a FA Cup giantkilling tomorrow.

He said: “Tomorrow is The FA Cup, we are away at Grays, who are a very good side with a talented manager.

“In these sorts of games status, form and who is stronger on paper goes out of the window.

“As important systems of play are, tomorrow will probably come down to which team wants to win the most, who is willing to work the hardest.

“Grays will work their socks off and so must we.”

MAIDSTONE UNITED assistant manager Nicky Southall reflects on the spirit of The FA Cup when the club travel to Biggleswade Town tomorrow.

The Stones are sitting proudly at the top of the Ryman Premier League and play a side that are in fifteenth-place in the Southern Premier League table, having won four, drawn four and lost four league games this season.

Maidstone United left if very late to see off Brentwood Town in the last round two weeks ago.

“The Brentwood game was a real test against a very well organised team that came to the Gallagher Stadium with a game plan to sit and frustrate us and make it very difficult, especially as they scored a spectacular goal very early into the game,” recalled Southall.

“They also had the threat of Alex Akrofi up top who caused us all sorts of problems with his electric pace (who we’re glad to say he’s joined us).  He has a very bright future ahead of him and we are delighted to have Alex at Maidstone United.

“We ended up going in 1-1 with a great headed goal from Ben Greenhalgh and this seemed to settle us down.

“After the break we created lots of chances, added with their goalkeeper wasting time, the referee put up seven minutes of injury time and this galvanised us to one last push where we got the last minute goal from Jack Parkinson – relief all round!”

Akrofi, 19, who came through the ranks at Brentwood, is cup-tied for tomorrow’s trip to Biggleswade, as is former AFC Hornchurch full-back Phil Starkey.

“This will be a very tough game as going away from home to any team at any level isn’t easy as it’s the unknown,” said Southall.
“We’ve had them watched and we’re aware of their dangers within their ranks so we all know that we have to be right on top of our game otherwise it will be a tricky afternoon.

“I’m sure they’ve done their own homework on us and the threats we possess Let’s hope for a great FA Cup tie for both sets of fans.”

Southall is an experienced FA Cup campaigner and he said: “The FA Cup is the oldest Cup competition in the world and it’s fantastic to be involved in Cup runs as it gives your club and your players’ superb exposure, especially the further you go, so I expect two teams to be well up for this so they can be in the hat for the next round.”

GREENWICH BOROUGH are the sole Southern Counties East Football League survivors and they play Redhill at Dartford's Princes Park Stadium on Sunday, kicking-off at 13:00.

Ian Jenkins’ side have defeated Lancing (2-1), St Francis Rangers (5-2), Chessington & Hook United (1-0) and came away from Southern League Division One Central side Beaconsfield SYCOB with a 3-1 win two weeks ago.

The club have banked £10,925 from their FA Cup run so far and will be looking to bank another £7,500 on Sunday.

Redhill though may be sitting in eighteenth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table, but they stunned Ryman Premier League Tonbridge Angels in the last round, winning 2-1.

Greenwich Borough will be aiming to get through to the Fourth Qualifying Round, where they will be joined by Vanarama Conference clubs, including landlords Dartford, Dover Athletic and Welling United in two weeks’ time.

Hythe Town were the last side in their league to reach The FA Cup First Round back on 6 November 2010 when Scott Porter’s side lost 5-1 away to then League Two side Hereford United.