Thamesmead Town’s amazing run in this season’s Emirates FA Cup has sadly come to an end in the Surrey countryside after a first half
drubbing left our heroes with far too much to make up against a Merstham side that has suddenly found its form in abundance against Thamesmead Town
After failing to win any of their first six Ryman Premier League matches, Merstham have hit form dramatically and going into the tie
had won their last three home games, netting sixteen times in the process, including five against one of manager Tommy Warrilow’s former
club Tonbridge Angels in midweek. And sadly for the Mead, the goalscoring continued and then some as Merstham eased into the FA Cup’s final qualifying round for the very first time.
After the game Warrilow spoke with his usual honesty when he said,“Its really disappointing that we’ve worked so hard to get here today
but also sometimes you’ve got to come off the field and say fair play to them. I felt that we could have done better with the goal’s but
they were the better team today and they deserved to go through. I’m disappointed with the score-line – we’ve got to dust ourselves down
now; the Cup run’s over and we’ve got to go again in the League.”
“I think that we’ve bee playing well up to today but we just didn’t play very well today at all – we were poor as a side and a few of the
lads could have given us more whilst there were some who gave me everything they had. When the goals were going in as they were in the
first half is demoralising but at least we went out in the second half and drew it 1-1, and we haven’t been done another four, five or six. But that’s football, and we’ve got to now get on with it…”
The visitors never really recovered from going behind after only five minutes when former Bromley defender Henriques headed home a free kick from wide out on the left. It got worse after 24 minutes when referee West gave a free kick against Jay Porter down the Merstham right when it appeared that the Mead full back had himself been fouled by Addai. But as the kick was played into the Mead box, the home players appealed for a penalty for hands, the official again bemused the Mead players by awarding a spot-kick for a push! Vidal stepped up and although Tyler McCarthy guessed right and got a touch on the ball, he couldn’t keep it out.
Worse was to follow as the Mead lost possession in midfield and after some quick passing on the ever slicker surface (made so by a couple of
heavy down pours in the opening half) the ball fell to Hector who drove the ball into the net. Three was to become four on the stroke
of half time when full back Campbell was afforded far too much time and space to run into before firing a skidding low drive into the bottom right corner of the net from 20 yards.
The home side almost made it five just after the break when the Mead goal had an amazing escape. The ball was played into Penny, who has
just returned to Merstham from National League side Woking, and somehow he managed to squeeze the ball off of Tyler’s body onto the
bar, where the ball bounced twice before being hacked to safety.
Warrilow made a half time change which saw Richard Butler brought into midfield as the Mead swapped from a 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2, and that helped to deny the home side so much of the space that they enjoyed before half time, but sadly the Mead didn’t really create a
chance worthy of the name until that is ten minutes from time. Then a shot from the irrepressible Bode Anidugbe (who didn’t stop running all afternoon) looped high into the air forcing home keeper Wilson to claw the ball away from under the bar. Butler was following up and the ball squirmed to Paul Vines who was able to poke the ball between defenders, keeper and the left post and the Mead were on the board.
Sadly, any hopes for a “great escape” that the Mead fans may have had evaporated within sixty seconds as Henriques headed his second of the game arriving late and unmarked from a left wing corner. It could easily have been six for the home side in the final minute as a long
ball forward was missed by both keeper McCarthy and Penney and as the ball looked like it was going to roll into the empty net Nathan
Simpson was able to get back to thump the ball away to safety.
A disappointing end then to what has been a fantastic and of course record breaking run for the club which has taken the Thamesmead to the Third Qualifying Round for the very first time – there’s always next year for the next round!
THAMESMEAD – Tyler McCarthy, Nathan Simpson, Jay Porter, Bode Anidugbe, Joe Vines, Joe Denny (Richard Butler 46), Warren Whitely, Tom O’Connor (Jack Maloney 59), Paul Vines, Ike Feehi (Adrian Stone 59), Ellis Green
Subs – Steve Springett, Fraser Walker, Max Ovenden