This was my second visit of the year to watch Sevenoaks Town. This time the Isthmian League South East Division 1 (Step 4) side were playing in an FA Cup First Qualifying Round Replay against Redhill FC. Redhill FC play in the Combined Counties Premier league (Step 5) so it was impressive that they held the higher ranked Sevenoaks Town, in the 1-1 draw, the previous Saturday.
There was a decent crowd of 183 in the ground to watch this tie, played on Sevenoaks’ 4G pitch. Facilities and space aren’t excessive at Greatness Park but there was a sizeable crowd settled to watch in the two seated stands and they made quite a noise!
The game started with open attacking play. Some heavy challenges early on created a sense of bad feeling, which led to altercations and needed the officials to calm things.
In the 28th minute the Sevenoaks Town number 8, Bradley Schafer, broke the deadlock with a fine finish.
On 33 minutes a lovely run and finish from Sevenoaks goal machine Louis Collins, saw Sevenoaks make it 2-0.
Two minutes later a tap in at the far post for made it 3-0 Jason Thomspon as Redhill fell apart defensively. The tie looked to be all but over at this stage.
The second half opened cautiously with Sevenoaks playing within themselves as Redhill found some fight and forward momentum.
On 57 minutes Redhill grabbed a goal back, when number 9, Aidan Brown, stabbed in a chance, to bring the Redhill fans back to life.
Redhill had more chances as they began to find their shape. In the background an impressive electrical storm took hold and a wind blew across the ground. This seems to re-invigorate Sevenoaks and on 70 minutes they had a chance cleared off the line by the Redhill defence.
Seven minutes later, in the 77th minute, as the rain fell and the players tired, Redhill saw their opportunity and number ten, Sam King, took his chance and pulled it back to 3-2, to create a tense end to the tie. Then, with 5 minutes remaining, King broke free and finished for his second goal of the night, to pull the score back to an unlikely 3-3.
The referee indicated there would be 5 minutes of extra time. At that Sevenoaks pushed to retake the lead. In doing so, they left their defence exposed and Redhill’s number nine, Aidan Brown, seized on a chance to break clear and finish beautifully, for his second goal, completing the turnaround, from an incredible 3-0 down, to a 3-4 lead.