As we wind our way toward the FA Cup Proper rounds, we get closer to Wembley, more sides fall by the way and the rewards get bigger. Who can make it through to the next round?
Cheshunt 1-3 Dorking Wanders
For the third time in four rounds, I headed to the Hertfordshire borough of Broxbourne to continue my Road to Wembley.
I arrived in the now very familiar Waltham Cross with a couple of hours to spare, so wandered the local shops for a while.
This is very much Spurs territory, which was evident as they have a shop in the local precinct.
I chose to browse the local book & record stores instead though.
I love a bargain, and managed to pick up no less than 5 stand comedy DVD’s for 50p each in CEX.
Messrs Bailey, Howard & Mack would have wait to entertain me though, as I needed my Saturday afternoon fix of football first.
The whole of Waltham Cross was engulfed with a tempting fog of barbecue smoke from a Caribbean food stall.
I opted for what turned out to be a lukewarm Jamaican Patty (I regretted that later).
I then headed to the chippy for a garnish of chips to eat on the way to the ground.
Steve and I arrived simultaneously. He seems to be having the same beginners luck that I had last season, with regard to distance needed to travel to each game. It only took him a fifteen minute drive.
Entrance had increased by £2 to £10 since our last visit. Not a criticism of Cheshunt FC, just the standard price of admission at this stage of the competition implemented by the F.A.
In fact Steve and I were again made very welcome by the home club, particularly by Howard Bailey, who came looking for us with a couple of team sheets hot off the press.
We both even got a name check in the programme again.
There were huge black clouds on the horizon prior to kick off, and it looked like the ground was set for a soaking, not that it bothered us as we were ensconced in the main stand.
Having had a 4-0 home drubbing in midweek to Potters Bar, the new manager’s honeymoon period was over.
I was interested to see that 43 year old ex Addick Scott McGleish was to start the game.
This was Dorking Wanderers first game in this season’s F.A. Cup, and they had generously laid on a free coach for their supporters to travel to Hertfordshire.
I saw Wanderers beat Hastings United in last season’s play off semi final en route to promotion to the Bostik Premier League.
With Cheshunt being a division lower, but having home advantage, this seemed an evenly matched tie.
Wanderers chose not to wear their usual red, white and blue kit against the Ambers, but went for their striking all lime green away outfit.
It didn’t take long for Dorking to prove they were from a higher league.
Matt Briggs had his shot cleared off the line by Callum Ellesley in the 11th minute, but his cross six minutes later, was finished by James McShane to give Wanderers the lead.
In the 21st minute Cheshunt keeper Montel Joseph pulled off a point blank save from Tom Tolfrey to keep them in the game.
Cheshunt weren’t playing badly, but Dorking had the upper hand until Adam Wallace finished well in the 27th minute to level scores.
Wanderers were still dominating, Ambers keeper Joseph pulled off another great save two minutes later.
Dorking were ahead again in the 34th minute.
Another great cross from Briggs clipped in by Tom Tolfrey.
The rain that had threatened before the game had miraculously passed in a different direction, and we even had brief interludes of sunshine in the first half.
The Ambers made a lot more of the second half, and Scott McGleish had an early effort after the break to try and equalise. Two minutes later another of his efforts was volleyed over the bar.
Dorking could have doubled their lead when Dan Pearse should have finished a cross.
With an hour gone Cheshunt were really pushing for an equaliser. Jason Hallett had a headed effort close and a free kick just over.
Shortly after that, there was a big scramble in the Wanderers box, and Adam Wallace fired into the side netting.
Wallace then rattled the Dorking bar with fifteen minutes left.
Jason Hallett had another one on one with the keeper, but Wanderers were holding out well. Cheshunt were determined to at least force a replay though.
Matt Briggs tried to finished the game five minutes from time, but shot wide.
Gareth Chendlik was the hero though, as he tapped in a late third for Wanderers.
Cheshunt had put up a great fight in the second half, but Dorking Wanderers were the deserved winners.
It’s sad to say goodbye to Cheshunt FC after such a friendly welcome, but I’m sure our paths will cross again one day.
I wish them well in both the Bostik North & F.A. Trophy this season.
So Steve and I will be wandering with the Wanderers for now. The next round draw has given us a trip to Concord Rangers.
I think I might have to swap Jamaican Patties for Pie & Mash on Canvey Island in the next round though.