For my second FA Cup tie of the day, I travelled 5 kilometres from Walton & Hersham to Imber Court, home of the Metropolitan Police.
Imber Court has a capacity of 3000, with seating for 297. It has been the home of Met Police since they were founded in 1919. When Met Police enter the pitch they are played out to “I fought the law” by The Clash! The ground has a grandstand with pitchside covered seating and covered standing behind the goal.
Burgess Hill Town sat bottom of the Isthmian South East League, coming into the tie, with no points from their opening four fixtures. To get to the second qualifying round Burgess Hill Town beat Stansfeld 3-1, Corinthian Casuals 1-2 and Felixstowe & Walton United on penalties, after a 2-2 draw. Their top scorer thus far has been Lewis Finney, with two goals.
Met Police FC play in the Southern League, Premier Division, a step higher than Burgess Hill Town. Coming into the tie they sat in 5th place, with 13 points from seven games. Met Police FC beat Corinthian, of the Isthmian League South East Division, in the previous qualifying round, with a 1-2 away win, after a 2-2 draw at Imber Court required the teams to play a replay. They made the first round of the FA Cup as recently as 2018-19.
The game started with both teams playing tentative football and neither really commiting to throw everything into attack. The game turned on its head in the 25th minute when Tom Read broke free, for Met Police and chipped Duah, in the Burgess Hill goal, to put the home side 1-0 ahead.
At halftime despite some chances for both teams the score remained 1-0 to Met Police FC. After the break The home side continued to press in attack to try and add to their score. However it was Burgess Hill Town’s substitute Duah-Kessie, who slotted home clinically, to make the scores level at 1-1, in the 60th minute.
Met Police suddenly seemed to sense that this was a game they had control of and needed to capitalise on. They created chance after chance before, in the 66th minute, Ollie Knight was felled with a push, in the area, by Burgess Hill Town’s Brad Santos, who then received a red card, as well as conceding a penalty.
Archy Taylor converted well to put Met Police FC 2-1 ahead on 66 minutes. The home team then spent the final 20 minutes, bombarding the Burgess Hill Town goal. In the 80th minute Joshua Keeya headed home to put the home side 3-1 ahead and to put the tie out of reach.
At full time it was a richly deserved win for the home team and Metropolitan Police FC who progressed into the next round of the Emirates FA Cup.