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

Tower Hamlets 1-0 Broxbourne Borough

You can’t beat a Monday night replay. It sets you up for the week, with ample opportunities for more games to come on a Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday night.

Check out the first matches on the journey!

It was deja vu for me, because last year, I had to visit Gander Green Lane, to watch Sutton Common Rovers replay with Erith Town on exactly the same night.

A trip to Mile End Stadium seemed a much easier journey than the trip to Hertfordshire at the weekend. Or so I thought.
The Blackwall tunnel was having its usual rush hour congestion, so I decided the best way to cross the River Thames would be by boat.

I’m very familiar with Thames Clippers as I used to use them to commute to London for a few years.
It’s probably the most civilised way to commute from South East London, and very refreshing on a sticky summers day commute.

I only had to go a few stops to go to Canary Wharf, but for the pleasure it cost me £3.90.
That was after an Oyster discount as well!

It almost cost me an £8.90 ’emergency fare’ though, because the jobsworth on the boat told me that’s what I had to pay without a ticket.
I’d been told at the pier I could pay on board, but
I had to walk back off the pier, to bring the member of staff with me, to get past jobsworth.

I wonder how many people get suckered in to pay double the fare in this way.
After a short cruise and 10 min bus ride, I was at the ground 90 minutes before kick off.

It was too early to go in, so I grabbed a team sheet and headed off in pursuit of a chippy.

Due to the fact it was only two days after the original game, Tower Hamlets didn’t have time to produce a programme, but the two sided team sheet was actually more informative than Saturday’s programme. Plus my ‘Road to Wembley’ even got a mention.

I’d visited Mile End Stadium three years ago for a F.A. Cup game with Felixstowe & Walton United, so knew what to expect.
Like many, I’m not a fan of watching football in an Athletics stadium, purely because you’re so far from the action.

There’s one main grandstand which had ample room for the crowd of 68, which was actually 10 more than forSaturday’s game.
The rest of the ground is just uncovered standing, but there was never going to be any chance of the attendance being bigger than the 27,000 that Blur attracted when they played the stadium in 1995.
The views from the stadium of Canary Wharf are fantastic though.

Tower Hamlets made two changes from Saturday’s line up, whilst Broxbourne made three changes, and were without scorer Lewis Dickenson.
Kick off was delayed for 7 minutes whilst repairs were made to one of the goal nets, and then action commenced.

Both sides seemed to favour the long ball in the early part of the game, and Broxbourne were unlucky not to put Chris Wells clean through on a couple of occasions.
The game settled down to more a passing game, which was better quality than that offered in the first game.

Best chance of the first half was from Alhousman Ndure who made Broxbourne keeper Brandon Walsh pull off a great save.

There wasn’t a lot to report in the second half.
It looked like we were heading for extra time as neither team looked capable of scoring.
Then there was a flashpoint.

Broxbourne’s James Kelly tripped Kane Wilson and it all kicked off.
It was quite surprising as both games hadn’t been dirty at all.

Being so far away from the pitch, it was difficult to see exactly what happens after that, but most of the players, and some subs and management got involved in a large skirmish.

Once the dust had settled, the officials had a very long meeting to decide their verdict.
This ended with the referee showing at least 5 yellow cards. It also meant a sending off for Antonio Montiero of Tower Hamlets, as it was his second card of the game. So both goalscorers from Saturday were no longer involved in this match.

Tower Hamlets seemed to raise their game after the red card, but after a while Boro started to take advantage of the extra man, and pushed forward whenever they could.

There was a dramatic finish though. Just as we were all preparing for extra time, Curtis Pond slotted the ball into the net in the 88th minute, and the Tower Hamlets squad chased after him in celebration.

Broxbourne were frustrated, and soon went down to 10 men.
There were only seconds left though, and Tower Hamlets held on for a 1-0 win, and a chance to take on Takeley, the Essex Senior League leaders at home in the Preliminary round.

I was pleased that the game hadn’t gone to extra time. It meant I could leave East London through the Blackwall tunnel, before the World Athletics Championships crowd at Stratford kicked out.

I’m looking to come back for the next round though. I might bring my binoculars next time.

Andy again, taking in as much football as he can to avoid having to go to Charlton. Follow him here!

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