F.A.Cup – 1st Qualifying Round
Hullbridge Sports v Stanway Rovers
Rovers duly progressed to the next round with a fairly comfortable victory over Hullbridge, the current champions of the Essex Senior League now competing at Step 4 level.
The exceptional windy conditions did nothing to allow good football with both side struggling to cope.
Early stages saw Rovers take command and after 2 minutes a loose ball saw Blackwell blaze the ball over the bar. Rovers continued to take the game to the home side whom appeared hesitant at times and it came as no surprise when in the 14th minute Blackwell atoned for his earlier miss by scoring from 15 yards. The half continued with spasmodic attacks by the home side never really threatening.
The pace of Rovers front line troubled Hullbridge and they also had the wind against them as their defensive play generally placed the ball off the sidelines.
Half Time : Hullbridge 0 Rovers 1
The second half opened brightly for Roversand they always looked threatening particularly on the flanks. This was rewarded when, after 56 minutes, a quick break by Blackwell was swept low into the box for Holdstock to convert from close in. At this point Rovers were good value for their lead and continued to look dangerous,however, having sat back on their lead Kemp was adjudged to have tripped an opponent with the resultant penalty being converted. The remaining nine minutes caused concern with a close header by Hormsley just wide of the post. Another attack by Rovers saw his stinging drive strike the outside of the post. Rovers saw the game out fairly comfortably and held out for a deserved win. There were bookings for Holdstock, Barber, Wheeler and Blackwell.
Notably Wheeler in goal is growing in confidence with his judgement gathering the ball competently thus re-assuuring the defenders.
Not the best of games but again result was important giving Rovers their best start for several seasons.
Next up in the 2nd Qualifier is Tilbury, another Step 4 side.
Result : Hullbridge 1 Stanway Rovers 2