Road to Wembley 17/18: Preliminary Round

Tower Hamlets 0-4 Takeley

The F.A. Cup Preliminary round took my ‘Road to Wembley on the short trip back to East London to watch Tower Hamlets face fellow Essex Senior League rivals Takeley.

I left in plenty of time in case of congestion at the Blackwall tunnel.
It felt rather strange coming past The Valley on a Charlton match day, and not getting off at the chip shop by the ground.
I do hope that chippy isn’t suffering too much financial since my boycott of Charlton games.

I had a clear run through the tunnel, and was a mile from the Mile End Stadium two hours before kick off.

I thought I’d walk the scenic route to the ground.
After a visit to Tesco to pick up a prawn sandwich (real fans are allowed to eat them too) I walked along the Limehouse Cut canal for a while.
It was a surprising busy towpath, and a narrow boat even passed me on the way.

On arrival at the ground I was disappointed to find out that there would not be a programme, or team sheet either. Printer issues were mentioned.

I got chatting with Kristian who was a Cardiff City fan who lived locally.
He was doing a ‘Road to Wembley’ of sorts. He’d been at Hackney Wick in the previous round, and also the Tower Hamlets replay in the last round.

With this being my third visit, I gave Kristian a stadium tour.
Well we just walked round the outside of the Athletics track, until we had a good photo opportunity of Canary Wharf.

Takeley have had a great start to the season. They’d won all six games so far, and were top of the Essex Senior League.
With Tower Hamlets having struggled to get past Step 6 Broxbourne in the previous round, I fancied this to be an easy away win for Takeley.

Both sides started decently, but you could see Takeley were the more organised side, and they were ahead after seven minutes through Stuart Zanone. To be fair I think it was his goal. Reece Barnett’s shot was going in, but Zanone seemed to tap it over the line.

Tower Hamlets’ Wale Odedoyin had a decent attempt to equalise after ten minutes, but it was Takeley who were bossing the game.

It was 2-0 after 17 minutes when George Wappett curled a shot into the top right corner.
After that Takeley seemed to take their foot of the gas, and should really have extended their lead before half time.

During the break, I met up with @Southend_Loyal
Steve was at both Tower Hamlets games in the Extra Preliminary round, and like me is on the ‘Road to Wembley’.
I’m guessing we’re probably going to be seeing a lot of each other this season now.

Tower Hamlets struggled to get back into the game in the second half, although Kane Wilson’s screamer of a shot was unlucky to go just over the bar.

Unfortunately when Tower Hamlets did hit the net, it was their own, when Naaman Gordon put past his own keeper in the 76th minute.

Zanone scored his second goal two minutes from time to ensure an easy 4-0 win in front of a crowd of 55, plus a few pigeons.

I had a smooth journey home, and there were still Charlton fans walking up Floyd Road from The Valley when I went past.

So the draw has handed Takeley a trip to Bostik North League Cheshunt in the 1st Qualifying round.
The ground is close to Broxbourne’s so for me it’ll be a quick return to that part of Hertfordshire.

If you read my blog from that game, you will also remember that like Arnold Schwarzenegger, I did say that “I’ll be back”.

Our thanks to Andy Phillips. Follow him on Twitter!

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