EXTRA PRELIMINARY ROUND
Hadleigh United 3
Sporting Bengal United 2
Andrew Crisp believes Hadleigh’s first-half performance in Saturday’s FA Cup tie — which saw them fly into a three-goal lead — has set the benchmark for their season.
The assistant manager took the reins in the absence of Stuart Alston (holiday), and saw his side hanging on in the final minutes, to book their Preliminary Round tie at Hertford Town, after second-half goals from Ashaan Siddik (64) and Eaia Embalo (79) for the Bangladeshi FA East London side.
But it was the way his side handled the first half — which saw Michael Barwick and Ben Elliott capitalise on mistakes inside the first eight minutes before debutant Kryon Andrews swept home a fine move 25 minutes in — that left Crisp beaming.
And he is desperate for the side to repeat it when they open up their 2017/18 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign at home to highly-fancied Newmarket Town on Saturday (3pm), a game which will see Alston back in charge.
“I thought we started off exceptionally well,” he said. “The boys put a great shift in the first half and I don’t think they put a foot wrong as we caught them cold.
“Second half we have to give credit to Sporting Bengal as they turned us over and we obviously ended up hanging on towards the end.
“But the commitment and effort from the boys today, which is all I ask for, was second to none.”
Of The Jockeys’ visit, who have hit a gallop already — thrashing Great Wakering Rovers 5-1 in the FA Cup on Saturday before Tuesday’s 6-0 demolition of Fakenham Town, both in front of their home fans — he said: “They were up the top last year (finished 3rd), so undoubtedly they will be there-or-there-abouts this season.
“We can’t ask for more; we have started off on the right foot.
“It is a long hard season and I have said to the boys that if they perform like they did in that first half and we get the consistency throughout the whole game, we can match any team. But you have to perform every week, and that will be the telltale on Saturday.”
Hadleigh: Mansfield, Ferguson, Ross, Barwick, Elliott (c), Artiss, Andrews (Chand, 80), Driscoll, Veitch (Gilvray, 85), Crisp, Cheetham (Sharp, 67).
Free Press Man of The Match: Tom Driscoll.