THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Hadleigh United 4 Walsham-le-Willows 3: Stuart Crawford takes his Hadleigh United side to Billericay Town on Saturday (3pm) looking to write a piece of club history in the FA Cup.
If The Brettsiders were to pull off a giant-killing act at the Ryman League Premier Division high-flyers — who ply their trade two leagues higher — it would be the first time they had made it into the second qualifying round.
But Hadleigh boss Crawford admitted they will have to defend a lot better than in Saturday’s entertaining 4-3 home win over Walsham-le-Willows, which saw uncharacteristic errors threaten to end their unbeaten start to the season, despite goals from David Lorimer, Duane Wright, a penalty from Kevin Inglis and a stunning volley from Neil Calver.
After seeing off higher-league opponents away from The Millfield in the previous round of the FA Cup, in Ryman One North side Burnham Ramblers (4-1), Hadleigh will be looking to embrace the underdog tag again on Saturday.
“Our target was to get past Burnham and we did that successfully,” said Crawford.
“When you start playing Ryman Premier you are going up against difficult opposition then.
“It will be a difficult afternoon, it would have been better if it was here but we will go there with no pressure and hopefully we can do something.”
He will have to make do without leading scorer Lorimer (holiday), left-back Ashley Sloots (ankle) and midfielder Jorrell Hurd (unavailable), but is hopeful of having right-back Ryan Stafford fit again with Liam Scopes having had to fill in on Saturday after another makeshift full-back, in Liam Jennings (thigh), injured himself in the warm-up on Saturday to make himself a doubt.
After Luke Austin’s angled drive had given the Willows a lead eight minutes in at the weekend, Lorimer converted Scott Chaplin’s low deep cross just after the half-hour mark before Duane Wright sent them into the break ahead after heading over Lee Pacey from Kris Rose’s excellent delivery from inside his own half.
Andrew Wood hit the post after a wayward Inglis pass at the start of the second half before a harsh handball against Austin soon after saw Inglis send the goalkeeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Wood’s curling shot brought it back to 3-2 before Calver walloped a volley into the top corner.
But Wood danced through the home defence and laid off for substitute Tatham to taphome in the 90th minute for a nervy finish.
Hadleigh: Nower, Scopes, Rose, Inglis, Goldfinch, Donnelly, Churchyard, Wright (Barwick 65), Lorimer (Crane 65), Calver, Chaplin (Hurd 84).