EMIRATES FA CUP
SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND
SATURDAY 17th SEPTEMBER 2022
EASTBOURNE BOROUGH 2 UXBRIDGE 0 (HT 1-0)
Uxbridge bowed out of the FA Cup at National League South side Eastbourne Borough on Saturday, after a gusty display against there lofty rivals. Injury and unavailability forced Manager Danny Edwards into five changes from the side that had performed so well at Chertsey Town the previous Tuesday. Andy O’Brien, Alan Hedley, Babs Jarra, Victor Osobu and Jack Beadle were all missing from the starting XI. This meant first starts of the campaign for Alex Paine and Mark Goodman, with Harry Seabrook, Elliott Poley and young Presley Evans given rare starts. This was the first ever meeting between the two clubs and therefore our maiden visit to the impressive Priory Lane. The attendance of 574 was our largest FA Cup crowd since our exploits against Terry Venables Wembley in 2012.
The Sports began the game on the front foot and forced The Reds to defend in numbers, getting men behind the ball and denying space to the pacey forwards. With twenty minutes gone the score remained at 0-0 and it appeared this tactic was working. However, in the twenty-first minute Joe Jackson was robbed of the ball in midfield and it was fed out wide and crossed into the box. A missed near-post header caused disarray in the Uxbridge defence and former Peterborough United, Gillingham, Stevenage and AFC Wimbledon striker Chris Whelpdale, was on hand to guide it home, unguarded at the far-post. This was the veteran forwards last involvement in proceedings as he was substituted before play restarted, following an injury he had picked up earlier in the game. If only the ball had gone out of play moments earlier! Uxbridge continued to defend resolutely, keeping themselves in the tie at only a goal behind. Half-time 1-0.
No changes were made during the break and The Reds tactics also remained unchanged. Although Eastbourne dominated possession Matty Bonnett only had one shot on target to deal with, pushing a near-post effort away from danger. The deficit remained at a solitary goal until the seventy-sixth minute – A tiring Reds rear-guard was finally breached as a quick one-two allowed a cross to be easily side-footed into the net from close range by Simo Mbonkwi. Ironically it was probably at this point that Danny was looking to change tact, having “stayed in the game” with fifteen minutes to go. A two-goal lead proved too much to pull back and despite Victor Osobu’s introduction, making his 50th appearance, his speedy runs at the full-back failed to produce a way back. Full Time 2-0.
Uxbridge may have failed to score for the first time this season but they can hold their heads high after pushing The Sports all the way. At ninety minutes, as I made my way out of the ground, a Reds fan said “at least we’re still unbeaten”, I turned thinking the poor guy must have just woken from a slumber, when he added the words, “on grass”. “See you Tuesday at Westfield, they play on that stuff” I said. “Come On You Reds” he added.
Uxbridge Line-up: Bonnett, Andrew, Nugent, Poley, Seabrook, Jackson, Maloney, Paine, Williams, Evans, Goodman. Subs: Talla for Paine, Osobu for Evans, Ofosu for Goodman.