Romario lays on first as Ashford progress
BOSTIK League Northern Division side Heybridge Swifts started Saturday’s tie only five places below Premier Division strugglers Metropolitan Police in the football pyramid and were always set to be obdurate opponents, writes Sean Lofting.
That much was in evidence after 22 minutes as Luke Callander capitalised on Jay Gasson’s poor challenge to score from the penalty spot and put the visitors 1-0 up.
The Met dominated possession but Heybridge continued to look far more likely to score in the first half.
The Police, however were rewarded for their ball retention when Lewis Putman headed home from a corner to level 10 minutes into the second half.
An end-to-end affair had both teams keen to avoid a replay and the Met thought they had achieved just that after taking the lead in the 79th minute. A swift counter, which started with a Heybridge free-kick just outside their area, saw a powerful powerful run and welltimed pass from Lloyd Macklin to substitute Callum Kealy, who scored with his first touch.
Macklin then blotted an outstanding performance by getting sent off for a dangerous challenge in the final minute, with Met manager Jim Cooper having no complaints about the decision.
And the sending off proved costly as Swifts scored deep into added time; Ryan Henshaw’s close-range finish ensuring the Met will have to travel to Essex for a replay on Tuesday night.
An impressive performance from Ashford Town (Middx) saw them progress to the next qualifying round with a 3-0 win against Marlow.
It is the first time Ashford have reached the third qualifying round in eight seasons.
Despite the absence of midfielder Scott Weight there was a confidence about the visitors, who took the lead in the 15th minute.
Romario Jonas, on for the injured Joe Green, provided the ball which Jack Beadle forced home from a goalmouth scramble for his 50th goal for the club.
At the other end, Marlow were left ruing wasted chances as Tyler Tobin was kept busy in the Ashford goal.
It took just two minutes of the second half for the Tangerines to make it 2-0. Good work by James Cottee saw Mark Bitmead cut in and hammer home after initially losing out to a defender who was tracking back.
That goal seemed to deflate the hosts and rarely did they pose any real threat in the remainder of the half.
A couple of good saves from the Marlow goalkeeper kept the score down to 2-0 and the referee was forced to reduce the home team to ten men late on when their frustrations resulted in a red card for dissent.
On-loan Regan CharlesCook celebrates scoring for Woking on Saturday