Road to Wembley 17/18: Preliminary Round

Long Melford 1-2 FC Romania

Pre-match

This is our second FA Cup preliminary round in as many years, last year we were lucky enough to see the Scaffold Brigada and Clapton FC take on Sporting Bengal FC but this year brought us to Suffolk and specifically Long Melford FC.

Long Melford progressed from the last round by beating Hackney Wick FC away from home. Even though they will be the first to admit they were not at their best at Hackney they came away with a 1-0 victory. The preliminary round matched them against FC Romania who beat Waltham Forest 2-1 after a midweek replay. FC Romania were sitting around the top of the essex senior league (Step 5) whilst Melford sit near the bottom of the eastern counties league (Step 5).

Our journey to Stoneylands from London started with us battling the V Festival crowds to get to Suffolk. On our arrival at the ground our first thoughts were how impressive both the ground and the pitch was (hats off to Melford). Anyway let’s get to the game.

The Game

The first half showed us what quality Romania had on the ball, to the point that between us we would agree that in the first half they were the best footballing side we had seen at this level. They kept the ball remarkably well, even with Melford pressing all over the pitch. Melford did however create a couple of half chances in the first half which could of potentially changed the game. Keeping the ball well and with pace down each wing the visitors took a 2-0 lead into half time.

The second half could not have been anymore different to the first. Romania didn’t keep the ball very well and a relentless Melford pushed them all the way. One thing that was noticeable in the second half was that Melford we were winning all the second balls and maybe a motivating half time team talk had spurred them on. Melford were eventually rewarded with a goal coming from a long throw into the box, luckily we caught this goal on video which you can see on our twitter page. Melford also had a goal disallowed for offside, without the action replays we could not see if it was or wasn’t but I can definitively tell you the home fans were aggrieved. Although they gave it everything Romania held on to a 2-1 win and Melford may go away thinking if were not for a bit of added quality in the final third the result may have been different.

Thank you to Long Melford for hosting a great game, with great beers and great burgers 😀 and well done to FC Romania who we will see in the next round in September. The draw for the 1st qualifying round has drawn FC Romania vs north Londons Hadley FC. A return for us to Hadley managed by Micky Hazard who we saw in our journey last year.

Our thanks to Bradley Ash. Follow the FA Cup Journey guys on Twitter.

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