The FA Cup returns to the Shooting field.
Town were back in cup action on Saturday when they hosted follow Sussex side Pagham in the extra preliminary round of this seasons FA Cup. Like last Saturdays league opener, the weather was more like November rather than August with strong wild, sun and rain all rolled into one which made a few supporters stay away but it was lovely to see over a 100, brave the weather to cheer on the Barrowmen. Town made three changes from Tuesdays league win against Loxwood with captain Gathern, youngest Younger and Murphy all sitting out and McGrath, Cousins and Fitzpatrick returning to the starting 11, it also gave an opportunity for Town to include 2 u18s in there first ever FA Cup squad plus a return of last seasons u18 captain Spano. Murphy slightly reshuffle the formation with Faber dropping into the defence alongside the returning Fitzy, McGrath slotting into the midfield alongside Bold and Cousins retuning to centre forward and it was last seasons top scorer who had the first chance on 7 minutes when a lovely long Faber pass find Towns number 9 in space only for his shot to drift slightly wide.
Town were starting to dominate posession and created a few more chances with Bradley and Bennett testing the visiting keeper but it was the away team who broke the deadlock on the 25th minute. Pagham swung in a corner from the right and for some reason the Town defence didn’t seem to mark any of the on rushing opposition, which left the Pagham number 6 with a free header leaving Hawkins in the home goal no chance.0-1That seemed to boost the away teams confidence and the game started to even itself out with both teams cancelling each other out for the next 15 minutes or so.HT 0-1
Town kicked off the second half with that strong wind behind them and soon started to push the visitors back with some neat passing between Bold, Bennett and Bradley but it was the returning Cousins who inspired the come back when on the 51st minute he drew in Pagham no.3 into a silly foul in the penalty area leaving the referee no choice other than to blow for a home spot kick. Up stepped the reliable penalty taker Bold to smash Town level and the home support were delighted. 1-1Town looked like the most likely side to go on and win the tie with more chance going bagging from Howell, Bennett and Cousins but when Pagham were awarded a corner ten minutes later it was a case of deja vu, when the Pagham no.4 drifted into the home penalty area unaposed to head home from close.1-2
It was now up to Town to come back for a second time I the tie and it didn’t take long and it was that man again in the thick of it. On the 61st minutes Cousins twisted the visiting left-back inside out then delivered a teasing ball across the box to the waiting Bennett who in all fairness couldn’t miss from 2 yards out.2-2 Game on!The final 20 odd minutes Town pushed for a winner with Fitzy crashing a header on to the bar, Bennett shooting just wide and Cousins testing the visiting keeper but Pagham had other ideas and had two great chances late on to snatch a place in the next round when there countered after a Town attack only for Hawkins to save brilliantly in a one vs one from both the Pagham no.7 and no.12, in fact Hawkins had saved Town on two earlier occasions with two fantastic blocks at close range.FT 2-2So Town now head down to Pagham on Tuesday for a reply with hopes of Wembley still alive.
Thanks to everyone who came down to support the boys and if you’re at a loose end the it’s a 19.30 ko down at Nyetimber Lane this Tuesday.
Squad:Hawkins, Clark, Sabino, Faber, Fitzpatrick, Bold, McGrath (Okolo) Bennett, Howell (Spano) Cousins, Bradley. Subs not used: Ruiz, Simpson, Murphy