Road to Wembley 17/18: 3rd Qualifying Round

Burgess Hill Town 1-0 Wealdstone

Another home tie in the 3rd Qualifying round for us, it looks like if you’re the team we’re following then you’re almost guaranteed a home tie in the cup. So it was back to the Green Elephant Stadium we went to see Burgess Hill Town host Wealdstone FC of the National League South. This was looking like it was going to be a real test for Burgess Hill and they would need to step up a level from what they showed in the previous tie if they wanted to compete. It was also the first ‘big’ away following we saw as Wealdstone brought along a decent number of fans who made plenty of noise which contributed to a 590 attendance which was the largest for us so far.
The game itself saw a strong start for Burgess Hill who were getting plenty of crosses in to the Stones penalty area, one of which caused particular discomfort for a Wealdstone defender who had to awkwardly adjust under the crossbar to get the cross away and did require both the bar and the post to come to his rescue to get it away and save him the blushes of an own goal early on.
As the half went on, Wealdstone started to get themselves in the game and were looking to get the ball forward to the number 9 at the earliest possible opportunity but were unable to really create anything special. The first half didn’t show much chance of the deadlock being broken and they went in 0-0 which saw the Wealdstone fans swap ends and continue the noise behind the goal that their team was shooting towards. And their team certainly came out stronger for the second half and had a lot of the play getting plenty of variety in the tactics, the best chance came when they found themselves through one on one with James Shaw in the Burgess Hill Goal who closed down very quick and produced a good save. This was part of what was a fantastic second half by Shaw who was very commanding and pulled off some good saves, all this whilst he was getting plenty of stick from behind the goal for his kicking had been off for the whole game. It seemed like only a matter of time before Wealdstone would get their goal as they had Burgess Hill pinned back apart from a few rare chances for the home side to break away through Brandon Diau leading the line up front. On the 90th minute however, just as the added time was put up and we were preparing for another long Tuesday night trip, Burgess Hill were given a throw in in the Wealdstone half. They delivered a long throw into the box which was headed away but fell right on to the thunderous right boot of defender Cheick Toure who sent a powerful volley into the back of the net and won his side the game. It was certainly one of the best of the 16 goals we’ve seen so far and the most dramatic. Burgess Hill really had to dig in in the second half after strong pressure from Weladstone, but they did it well and sneaked themselves a win to equal their best cup run ever and one win away from the first round proper!
After the game we saw some angry reactions from the Wealdstone fans blasting their players for the performance, in truth it seemed a little harsh as they had plenty of chances in the second half and put everything into it and looked absolutely gutted. After talking to some fans after though it seems like this game was following a string of poor performances.
The draw has been made and surprise surprise we’re going to another home tie, this time Burgess Hill will battle against Dartford who are in the same league as Wealdstone but a little bit higher up so it will be another testing game.
Our thanks to Jack Debbage. Find him on Twitter and check out his YouTube Channel!

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