The Barrowmen narrowly won a memorable FA cup on Saturday beating a hugely talented Hanworth Villa side at The Birchwood Ground. The Combined Counties Premier Division side, on a terrific run since new management came in towards the end of last season were strong, powerful and a skilful side cheered on by a lively and vociferous away support.
The match was played out in front of a large expectant home crowd and two excellent goals from George Cousins in the opening twenty minutes really put us on the front foot and rocked the visitors. In the opening periods we attacked really well in an end to end game, with Cousins and Tilley looking very lively up front. The opener on ten minutes was a cracker. Town played some neat football out from the back and a ranging pass from Gathern found Clark on the right and his low whipped in cross was turned home in style by Cousins; his first competitive goal for the club.
After this the visitors had a few half chances themselves , but they were rocked again as a defensive slip let in Cousins and he sped in on goal and finished with a thunderbolt in to the top right hand corner. The visiting crowd could barely believe what they were seeing. The certainly didn’t expect this.
Villa came at us hard and continued to create good chances which they couldn’t take and also had a goal disallowed shortly before half time. Theobald making his debut in goal made a couple of fine saves.
The second half pretty much saw Town pinned in their own half for lengthy spells where they struggled to get out. Theobald continued to deal well with all shots and his handling was excellent. Towns only real effort of note in between the defensive rear guard was as 17 year old Ben Spano, a huge figure all game, got on the end of a deep cross, but the keeper managed to scramble his downward header to safety. The visitors missed a couple of glaring opportunities within 5 minutes which on any other day would have been buried. This increased the belief around the ground it was to be Towns day. A controversial disallowed goal for Villa soon after further increased this sense of optimism as frustrations threatened to boil over on the Villa bench .
A late hooked goal for the visitors on around 85 minutes ended up being too little too late and Steyning comfortably saw out the remaining minutes. In fact Heath, excellent all game, could have added a third when he sent a in a lobbed shot with the keeper in no man land but it drifted wide. The Town defence was marshalled superbly all game by skipper Gathern, dropping back in to a more familiar role, and Boiling, Clark and Maher were excellent alongside.
A fine win for the side, although we rode our luck at time against a very good side. Town were rewarded with another home tie next week on Tuesday 22nd @ 7.45pm v Sheppey Utd FC. See you there.
Town: Theobald, Gathern, Clark, Maher, Boiling, McGrath, Heath, Spano, Bold, Cousins, Tilley Subs used: Romain, Bloomfield, Timms Not used Tilley, Fitzpatrick, Marsden.