Stansted Have Cup Lift Off

Football / Wed 15th Aug 2018 am31 08:23am

Stansted 2 Sawbridgeworth Town 1

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Sunday 12th August

Report/Photo by Scott Lanza


There certainly was plenty to play for in this local derby; for a start there was a cheque for £2,250 waiting for the winners, and the winners of this tie already knew that the winners would then have a home tie against Takeley – setting up another all-ESL FA Cup local derby.


With so much at stake it was not surprising that the opening stages saw little in the way of goalmouth action, due in part to both teams digging in and not giving their opponents an inch. Ollie Fortune was able to fire a shot wide of the Stansted goal in the 10th minute and Billy Coyne then replied for the Airportmen with a free kick that teased its way into the Sawbridgeworth box, looking dangerous as it floated in but Matt Frew cleared the ball with a no-nonsense piece of defending. Frew, wearing the Captain’s armband was certainly in the thick of the action, needing treatment twice in the opening quarter of an hour due, in part, to his commitment to the Robins cause which meant he didn’t shirk a single challenge as he put his body on the line for his team.


Stansted were able to carve out an opening after Carl Mullings was played in and he dinked the ball over to Callum Ibe, who put on a burst of speed to beat his marker and from the right hand side of the box he delivered an angled shot that Louis Monk blocked and then cleared. And as the half progressed the Sawbridgeworth defence was being tested a lot more often by the hosts. Mullings had a header cleared for a corner, and then Jack Smith dragged a shot wide. But it was not all one-way traffic as Jack Cousins delivered a free kick that floated beyond Charlie Turner in the Stansted goal but also then sailed wide of the target.


The final ten minutes of the half saw a flurry of goalmouth action as first Fortune went close for Sawbridgeworth, then a Stansted corner had to be dealt with by the defence. But the hosts spurned a good opportunity when a a quickly taken free kick fell kindly to Mullings, but the resulting shot was cannoned into the side-netting. But the Robins came back with a quick passing move that saw Danny Wickenden pass to Frew who then knocked it on to Fortune, and for a moment the Stansted defence was all at sea – Turner though showed both quick reactions and bravery to come and claim the ball from the on-rushing Fortune. His counterpart, Jarvis Monk then had to show similar nerves of steel as he had to cut out a cross whilst under heavy pressure from Mullings.


But the deadlock was finally broken deep in first half stoppage time when a loose ball fell to Cousins who lashed it past Turner to give Sawbridgeworth a 1-0 half-time lead.


Having concede late in the first period, the Airportment then levelled the game up inside two second half minutes as a ball threaded its way into the Sawbridgeworth box and Ibe pounced and slotted the ball past Monk.


And the Airportmen nearly took the lead moment after equalising as a Julien Lloyd turn and volley nearly crashed into the net. Sawbridgeworth were reduced to ten men in the 57th minute when Chris Ratambwa clattered into Callum Ibe, resulting in the referee dishing out a straight red and then the Robins made their job even harder as Frew then received a second yellow card, for what looked like a bit of verbal to the referee and now the visitors were down to nine men. That handed the advantage to Stansted and they pressed forward, with Ibe rifling off a volley that Monk parried with the rebound being blocked twice by the Sawbridgeworth defence before being cleared. However the Robins were able to stem the Stansted tide and they almost capitalised at the other end when complacency between Paul Clayton and Joe Clark saw their exchange of passes intercepted by Cousins, who was soon swamped out by the Stansted defence who had to quickly clear up the opportunity they almost presented to their visitors.


But Stansted’s numerical advantage was starting to count and they started dominating most of the possession but more importantly had two extra options available when they pressed forward. That wa show they scored the winning goal in the 79th minute as Courtney Homans joined the Stansted attack and in an unmarked position just outside the box was able to strike a diagonal shot that beat Monk at his right hand post, clipping it before nestling in the bottom left hand corner.


But with only a one-goal margin meant that there was still a possibility of Sawbridgeworth salvaging something from the game although it looked like their luck was in when Smith went down under a challenge in the box but the referee waved play on. But Stansted actively went out to get the goal that would give them some breathing space and they nearly got it as Billy Coyne had a shot tipped away by Monk, and then had another effort struck from distance in the closing seconds that narrowly missed the top left hand corner.


It is Stansted then go on to a mouth-watering all-ESL Preliminary Round encounter with Takeley. Sawbridgeworth Town certainly played their part in a cracking Cup tie and you just wonder if they were unstuck largely due to being reduced to nine men.


Stansted: Charlie Turner, Courtney Homans, Moses Carvelho (Lee Hurkett 78’), Paul Clayton, Joe Clark, Billy Coyne (Capt), Julien Lloyd (Jordan Palmer 75’), Jack Folan, Carl Mullings, Jack Smith, Callum Ibe.

Scorers – Callum Ibe (79’), Courtney Homans (79’).

Sawbridgeworth Town: Jarvis Monk, Danny Palmer (Andy Bartram 80’), Louis Monk, Chris Ratambwa, Matt Frew (Capt), Josh Knight, Danny Wickenden, Jack Cousins (Daryl Doolan 80’), Ollie Fortune, Joe Wright, Lewis Roberts (Tom Jelliman 68’).

Scorers – Jack Cousins (45+2’).


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