Romford earn FA Cup replay

Romford battled to a goalless draw with Kingstonian in the FA Cup

Romford battled to a goalless draw with Kingstonian in the FA Cup - Credit: Archant

FA Cup 2QR: Romford 0 Kingstonian 0

Romford will go into the hat for the FA Cup third qualifying round draw on Monday after battling to a goalless draw with Kingstonian at Ship Lane.

They had to thank the woodwork three times, as Ryman Premier Division rivals Kingstonian came closest to scoring, but will travel to Kingsmeadow for a replay on Monday evening, after learning who their potential opponents in the next round might be.

The last time these two clubs had met had been in the 1958/59 Isthmian League campaign, Boro’s last before turning professional in the Southern League.

K’s had come out on top in both meetings, including a 2-1 success at Brooklands, but could not find a way past brave Boro this time.

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Romford boss Paul Martin was without the services of Tom Richardson, who was attending a wedding, and Nick Reynolds due to work commitments, but brought back those key players who had been rested in midweek for the 2-2 draw with Cray.

And the home side forced three early corners in the opening minutes, before K’s got the chance to mount their first attack.

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Tommy Kavanagh sent a 25-yard free-kick into Boro’s defensive wall, after being fouled by Jack Barry, but the hosts went close at the other end on nine minutes when Jamie Dicks saw his drive spilled by Rob Tolfrey, who was beaten to the loose ball by Ryan Imbert and then left face down on the turf as Abs Seymour’s follow-up attempt was cleared off the line.

A clearly concussed Tolfrey was unable to continue and replaced by K’s goalkeeping coach Matt Lovett, with an ambulance later called to the ground.

Seymour’s deep cross reached Reece Tranter on 18 minutes, but his effort was deflected behind, before K’s lost full-back Aaron Goode to injury after another challenge from Imbert.

Seymour was shown the first yellow card of the tie for a reckless challenge on Josh Casey, with Steve Laidler following him into David Spain’s little black book for a foul on Barry, right in front of the Romford dug-out, which led to some pushing and shoving.

K’s went close to breaking the deadlock just past the half-hour mark when Andre McCollin found space on the left and sent the ball past the advancing Aaron Omand, but saw it drift across the face of goal and behind for a corner, to the dismay of the hosts.

But Dicks, Romford’s matchwinner in the previous round against Bury, rifled a long-range drive just wide when Lovett punched David Ottley’s free-kick clear.

K’s went closer still on 36 minutes when captain Alan Inns headed on a free-kick and Ellis Hammond diverted it against the foot of the right post from no more than three yards.

And the visitors struck the woodwork again in the first of nine minutes of injury time when Matt Drage whipped a cross to the far post and Hammond laid it back for McCollin, who smashed an 18-yard attempt off the underside of the crossbar.

Barry sent a shot on the turn over for Boro, while Dicks had another speculative attempt, which cleared the stand behind Lovett’s goal.

Captain Barry was too high again at the start of the second half, after good work on the right by Tranter saw his low cross clipped over from just inside the six-yard box.

But Hammond chipped over Omand’s crossbar in the next passage of play, before strike partner McCollin went down holding his right leg, with K’s having used their third substitute during the interval.

Inns saw his header from Drage’s deep free-kick saved low to his right by Omand, after George Cocklin was spoken to for a late challenge on halfway.

And Kavanagh saw another free-kick from a central position 25 yards out deflected off the wall and behind, after Dicks was booked for a needless foul on McCollin.

Frustrations began to grow on both sides at some of the decisions from referee Spain, but Tranter made room for himself on the right midway through the half and forced a low save from Lovett as the tie remained firmly in the balance.

Omand could only parry Casey’s angled effort on 68 minutes, before Barry cleared the loose ball at the expense of a corner. And McCollin saw his full-blooded drive blocked by the midrift of Tranter, when the set-piece was played in short moments later.

Romford rallied as the match entered its last 20 minutes, with George Cocklin looking lively in the middle of the park.

But they could now seriously test Lovett, who held on to Seymour’s 35-yard free-kick when it bounced awkwardly just in front of him.

Meanwhile, Omand was left flat-footed as Tyrone Berry cut in from the left and smacked a 20-yard drive against the crossbar, with three minutes of normal time remaining.

Defeat would have been harsh on Martin’s men, who kept another clean sheet against opposition from a higher division and deserved a second chance in the replay.

A tough task awaits them at Kingstonian, with £4,500 prize money on offer, but Martin was in positive mood afterwards.

Romford: Omand, Ottley, Preston, Toms, Dicks, Clayton, Barry, Seymour, Imbert, Tranter (Hart 89), Cocklin. Unused subs: Truman, Ishmail, Cooper, Norris, Woodward, Boateng.

Kingstonian: Tolfrey (Lovett 13), Goode (Drage 19), Casey, Kavanagh, Page, Inns, Gomez, Laidler (Addai 46), Hammond, McCollinn, Berry. Unused subs: Blake, Pinney, Gondwe, Henry.

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