WEEKEND FOOTBALL ROUND-UP + MID-WEEK FIXTURES: Halstead Town provide FA Cup shock
Halstead Town overcame the odds to beat a side two divisions higher than them in the FA Cup on Saturday but while Soham Town Rangers also progressed, Bury Town and Long Melford both went out.
Thurlow Nunn League First Division outfit Halstead pulled off one of the results of the day in the Emirates FA Cup preliminary round on Saturday, coming away from Ryman League Division One North side Thurrock with a 3-2 victory.
Tom Cook’s stunning long-range curling effort gave The Humbugs an early lead before they were in dreamland at 2-0 up inside 15 minutes when Joe O’Hare’s effort from effort from near the halfway line caught the wind and sailed in.
Halstead managed to hold out until half-time and extended their lead to three when, against the run of play, substitute Charlie Pleace nodded in Jordan Hutching’s cross.
The visitors’ defence was finally breached in the 70th minute when Pete Davies put through his own net, and after some great goalkeeping from Joe Fowler, it was not until five minutes from time that Thurrock got it back to 3-2, but Halstead held out for a memorable victory.
The north Essex side’s reward is a derby date at Ryman Premier AFC Sudbury in the first qualifying round a week on Saturday.
Elsewhere in the FA Cup, Soham Town Rangers recorded their first win of the season to seal their progress with a 4-1 home victory over Harrowby United.
Robbie Mason gave the hosts a 1-0 half-time lead with a 13th minute strike before a 56th minute equaliser was soon cancelled out by second-half goals from Kieran Bailey, Billy Harris and Jordan Gent. Soham will travel to Rushall Olympic in the next round.
Bury Town’s 2016/17 FA Cup ended at the first hurdle at Ram Meadow though, losing 3-0 to Spalding United.
The hosts had been the dominant side in the first half but lost both Ollie Canfer (head injury) and Josh Mayhew (hamstring) before the break.
In the second half they conceded three unanswered goals, with Bradley Wells striking twice as well as Andrew Wright’s 85th effort.
Long Melford also exited the competition after being well beaten in a 2-0 defeat at Stoneylands by fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Saffron Walden Town, who they had beaten at the same venue just five days earlier.
In the Ryman League Premier Division, newly-promoted AFC Sudbury are up to fourth after the opening three games following their 1-0 win at Merstham, which was sealed when Liam Wales scored the game’s only goal in the 86th minute.
Needham Market, in eigth, continued their unbeaten start with their first three point haul, winning 2-1 at Kingstonian thanks to coming from behind with second-half goals from summer signings Jack Curtis and Reece Dobson.
In the Thurlow Nunn League, Mildenhall Town continue to be the early pacesetters in the Premier Division after recording their fourth straight victory, winning 5-1 at Fakenham Town on Saturday.
Jacob Brown, Matthew Green, Stephen Spriggs, Daniel Brown and Ross Munro were all on target for The Hall.
In the First Division there were first wins for Debebham LC and Cornard United, while Needham Market Reserves were thrashed 12-2 at league newboys Coggeshall Town.
In the Sky Bet Championship the East Anglian Derby ended honours even at Portman Road as Ipswich Town came from behind with Jonas Knudsen’s strike in first-half injury-time following Cameron Jerome’s opener for Norwich City.
Premier Division: Kingstonian 1 Needham Market 2, Merstham 0 AFC Sudbury 1.
EMIRATES FA CUP
Preliminary round: Bury Town 0 Spalding Utd 3, Soham Town Rangers 4 Harrowby Utd 1, Thurrock 2 Halstead Town 3.
THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Premier Division: Fakenham Town 1 Mildenhall Town 5, Haverhill Rovers 2 Walsham le Willows 3, Hadleigh Utd 0 Ely City 1,
First Division: AFC Sudbury 4 Team Bury 0, Dereham Town 1 Debenham LC 2, Diss Town 2 Braintree Town 1, Leiston 1 Cornard Utd 4, Needham Market 2 Coggeshall Town 12, Stowmarket Town 2 Haverhill Borough 2.
MID WEEK FIXTURES
Premier Division: Tuesday. AFC Sudbury v Wingate & Finchley, Needham Market v Canvey Island.
THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Premier Division: Tuesday. Haverhill Rovers v Long Melford, Newmarket Town v Thetford Town.
First Division: Tuesday. Braintree Town v Stowmarket Town.
Wednesday. Cornard Utd v Coggeshall Town.
Friday. Needham Market v Leiston.