Road to Wembley 17/18: Extra-Preliminary Round Replays

Erith Town 5-0 Rochester United

My hopes of watching three F.A. Cup Extra Preliminary round replays in three days, were thwarted by monsoon conditions on the day of Erith Town v Rochester United game.

Check out the first matches on the journey!

It wasn’t just this part of the country that was affected. Many of the scheduled replays that night were also postponed.

It was worth the wait though, as I was able to return six days later, to the same venue that I started my 2016/17 ‘Road to Wembley’.

Oakwood is only a short walk from me, and in recent years I’ve seen landlords VCD Athletic play a number of times.
Even closer is Phoenix Sports, whose ground I had to pass to on the way.

I was tempted in by their Bostik South game against Cray Wanderers that night, but the magic of the F.A. Cup ensured I walked for another five minutes to see Erith Town.

This was my first visit to Oakwood since the Erith Town F.A. Cup game on the first weekend of 2016/17.
I had a wander round the ground, and very little seemed to have changed in a year.

I was slightly surprised that it cost £8 to get in.
This was £2 more than all the other F.A. Cup games I’d attended this season.
Being tenants to VCD, I imagine the extra cost is essential to cover the rent.

The Programme was £2 and excellent quality, if a little low on content for that price.

The match started energetically, and both sides looked determined to gain control.
This didn’t take long, because in the 4th minute, Erith’s left back Dan Polfrey converted a central free kick into the top left hand corner of the net.

The Dockers didn’t seem to take control of the game at this stage, with United having plenty of possession.

In the 22nd minute Erith had another free kick. This one was from the right, and Polfrey once again bent the ball low around the wall, and past United goalkeeper Aires Ferreira.
I don’t know if the keeper was unsighted, but I think he could have done better.

Rochester were still making a good effort, and Vince Collis came close for them, before Sid Warden put the Dockers three up from a tight angle in the 32nd minute.

United had a couple more chances before half time.
Michael Brown fired over the bar, and Tim Beckford had an effort cleared off the line following a corner.

Erith Town had a commanding 3-0 half time lead, and what hope Rochester had of a comeback, vanished within seconds of the second half starting, when Danny Gannon made it 4-0.

The second half petered off a bit with Erith having a comfortable lead, but Rochester never really gave up.
Erith were the better team though, and Sid Warden made it 5-0 with fifteen minutes left just to emphasise their superiority.

It was an easy win for Erith in front of a crowd of 75, and they now visit Whyteleafe in the Preliminary round.

I saw them bow out at that stage last season at Ramsgate on my ‘Road to Wembley’.

Had they won, they would have played Whyteleafe in the 1st Qualifying round.
At least they’ve got that chance now, and I hope they can progress further this time.

I took the short walk home past Phoenix Sports, where the crowd were also departing.

I felt content that I’d seen five F.A. Cup goals, whereas they had seen a 0-0 draw.

Andy Phillips with a second match report. Follow his exploits on Twitter!

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