Romford win seven-goal FA Cup thriller
PUBLISHED: 15:36 21 August 2016
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FA Cup: Romford 4 Hullbridge Sports 3
Romford booked their place in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup after winning a seven-goal thriller against Hullbridge Sports at Ship Lane.
Boro came from behind to take a 4-1 lead and looked to be cruising towards a meeting with Ryman Premier Division side Harlow Town.
But Essex Senior League Hullbridge hit back with two late goals to set up a tense finale, before Paul Martin’s men could celebrate their progress and the addition of £1,925 in prize money to club coffers.
The match was barely a minute old when Hullbridge’s Luke Hornsley was put through on Richard Wray’s goal and saw his shot hit the post.
And the home side did not heed that early warning as the visitors did take the lead on two minutes when Rob Hodgson headed a cross home from point blank range.
Ryman North Boro’s first effort fell to Chinedu McKenzie, whose shot from the edge of the box was comfortably dealt with by James Pellin, but Martin’s men had a let-off moments later when a Hullbridge corner was almost turned in at the near post.
It was all square on nine minutes, however, when McKenzie headed a looping cross in off the post and Boro were almost gifted a second when Pellin raced from his goal to clear a through ball intended for Will Green and saw it deflect off the Romford player.
Paul Preston fired over from 25 yards out on the left, before Boro took the lead on 23 minutes through captain Jamie Dicks, who powered home a header from close range.
The goal settled the home side down, although Matt Brinkley sent a header straight at Wray at the other end.
And Boro went close to a third when Dicks sent a free-kick to the far post, where it was almost turned in by one of his team-mates.
Brinklow forced a fine save from Wray with five minutes left in the first half, but Boro opened up a two-goal gap when McKenzie was pulled to the turf inside the box and Matt Mitchell converted the spot-kick.
Hullbridge had a great chance to hit back two minutes after the restart, but Hodgson glanced wide from six yards.
And they were made to pay as Romford went up the other end and netted their fourth goal of the tie as McKenzie fired a shot inside the near post for his second goal of the afternoon.
Boro might have extended their lead further, with three decent chances going to waste before the hour mark.
Hullbridge’s Jimmy Cox spurned a good opportunity at the far post and the visitors had penalty appeals for a challenge on Hodgson waved away, which led to a booking for the centre-back.
But they gave themselves late hope on 76 minutes when Harry Skinner fired their second goal past Wray from outside the box and then set nerves jangling among the home faithful as Hornsley slotted home with five minutes remaining to cut the gap to just one.
Hullbridge were reduced to 10 men in the final minute of normal time, though, when Hodgson was shown a second yellow card for deliberate handball when attempting to nod home a last-gasp leveller.
And Romford held on in front of a crowd of 123 to claim a morale-boosting victory, having taken one point from a possible six in their first two league matches of the campaign.
Boro return to action with a trip to former landlords Aveley next weekend, after Millers bowed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Hornchurch on Friday night.
Romford: Wray, Boswell, Preston, Potter, Toms, Adebayo (Tubey 78), Bankole, Dicks, McKenzie, Mitchell (Taylor 46), Green. Unused subs: Thomas, Ogboin, N Reynolds, S Reynolds.