This was a last minute decision, on my behalf, to travel upto Welling to see the FA Cup preliminary round tie between SCEFL Premier league leaders, Erith & Belvedere and Croydon Athletic of the Combined Counties Premier Division. Both teams have played four league matches, with Erith & Belvedere winning all of theirs and Croydon drawing one but losing the other three.
I expected goals from Erith & Belvedere and knew Benga Ogunseye had scored four goals in his last two matches, against Erith Town and K Sports in the SCEFL (Southern Counties East Football League) Premier Division.
The Park View Road ground is the home of Welling United but Erith and Belvedere ground share and there was a good crowd of 230 in for this Sunday fixture. The ground, as you’d expect of a National League club, had a large amount of covered and seated stands, as well as decent refreshment and toilet facilities.
The first 45 minutes of this cup tie, were signified by cagey football, with both sides testing each other but neither side being brave enough to lay a high quality final pass on. There were some off target shots and some badly timed challenges too, but at half time the scores were still level, with neither keeper fully tested.
The first half challenges had led to some animosity developing and the referee went into the Croydon Athletic dugout to speak with the bench after some interactions.
At half time with the tie still in the balance it was good to have the chance to meet Phil Annets, who operates the @FACupFactfile Twitter account and who was visiting the ground. Phil has written a book about the 150 years of the FA Cup with details about big and small clubs and plenty of “150 lists” to make the book interesting. Phil’s book can be purchased at his website: https://facupfactfile.co.uk/shop
The first twenty minutes of the second half were just as tight fought and frustrating for the teams as the first half. The referee was back in the manager’s dugout, this time booking the Erith & Belvedere manager, Danny Murphy, for comments made.
As the second half progressed Erith & Belvedere started to lose their shape and make silly errors, which allowed Croydon into the game.
Croydon thought they had won the tie, when they scored with a header by their number 5, Marcus Travers, but the goal was ruled out for offside, with the assistant referee nodding confidently about his decision.
There were clear cut chances for both sides in the final quarter of the game but it was destined to be one of those ties that will go to a replay. At the final whistle, of what had been a game with few memorable moments, it remained 0-0. The sides will replay at Croydon Athletic’s Mayfield Stadium in a midweek game.