The FA Cup 2019 -20: Extra Preliminary Round
2019 – 20 Season: Match 11
Sunday 11th August 2019 – 3pm KO
W Essex: Yellow & Black Striped Shirts, Black Shorts, Yellow Socks
Whitton: Green & White Striped Shirts, Green Shorts, Green Socks
West bow out in the FA Cup to Whitton in frustrating display
West Essex 1 – 2 Whitton Utd
Report & Photos by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
The second of my FA Cup weekend matches took me to Redbridge’s Oakside. Like the first match 24 hours earlier, this was also a battle between Essex Senior League and Thurlow Nunn Premier sides. ESL representatives West Essex welcomed Whitton Utd, who are based in Ipswich and have existed under their present guise since 1926. West of course are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, having worked their way up the leagues since their inception in 1989.
As for the teams today, West fielded ever-present Jack Coker in goal, with a back four of Sanchez Hardy, Tom MacLeod, Nick Walk and Sam McNally. Cameron Gray pulled up with a knock in the warm-up so Joe Lefley replaced him in the starting eleven. Defender Josh French plus forwards Symeon Taylor & Izzy Ogedi-Uzokwe were among the options on the bench. Whitton named Harry Wales and Josh Hubert in central defence with Lewis Higgins as their goalkeeper and three-pronged forward line in Jamie Cole, Liam Wales and Jacob Lay.
Both sides gradually made their way into the match, with Whitton defender Harry Wales heading well wide nine minutes in whilst in a promising position about eight yards out. Meanwhile at the other end, home midfielder Callum Bloss was attempting to find his radar sending through his telling through balls into forward Michael Mignot though visiting centre-back Josh Hubert was alert to the danger, showing good positioning. Whitton broke the deadlock after 17 minutes as a powerful drive from forward Liam Wales caught out Stags custodian Jack Coker and flew into the net from twenty yards. With Kwame Kwateng’s side on the back foot, they had a great chance to level just four minutes after the goal as creative midfielder Joe Lefley found himself one-on-one with ‘keeper Lewis Higgins though his shot couldn’t find the target, though Hubert did well to clear off the goal-line before Mignot blazed the follow-up over the bar.
The first ‘flash-point’ of the match struck with a jolt on the half-hour as Greens centre-back Harry Wales was given a straight red card for a challenge on Mignot just as the forward was approaching the penalty area, much to the chagrin of the visiting dugout. To be fair to Shane Caldron’s team, they were still posing a threat of their of their own as fleet-footed winger Jacob Lay was driving his way towards the 18-yard area before a good challenge by West right-back Sanchez Hardy stopped him. The Stags were losing their rhythm in the five minutes or so before half-time and just before the interval came the second ‘flash-point’. Mignot was fouled again on the edge of the penalty area though this time reacted rather vigorously as the defender ended up on the floor. You’ve seen dismissals happen for that type of thing before and the West forward was fortunate to not add to that statistic.
Half-Time: West Essex 0 – 1 Whitton Utd
After the interval, the hosts started building their good passing play as a move involving Bloss and forward Hakim Medfai showed before Higgins gathered the ball with Mignot lurking. At the other end, on 52 minutes a corner by Greens midfield anchor Kevin Inglis viciously curled in which needed the intervention of Coker to tip round the post. Moments later, Higgins denied Mignot again though the hosts did level nine minutes into the half as a sweet Joe Lefley corner found skipper Tom MacLeod who powered an unstoppable header right into the top left corner.
West had chances to take the advantage themselves trough Mignot and Medfai though Higgins and a well-regimented visiting backline was equal to it. As we entered the latter stages, the atmosphere only increased in tension as the Stags could not settle into their preferred ‘pass & move’ play, instead getting drawn into a physical battle. With 17 minutes left, Lay sent in a great ball from the left for fellow winger Zehnn Young though his stroke was blocked, with the rebound falling to Lay himself who drilled his low strike narrowly wide.
Soon after Higgins again denied MIgnot, the crucial goal came as West were piling numbers forward, Greens forward Jamie Cole challenged Coker on the edge of the area before lobbing home coolly the rebound. The fraid nerves were only going to go one way and despite the Stags piling on the pressure to the Whitton 18-yard area in added time which need two goal-line clearances from the gutsy visitors and Higgins being alert to deny late substitute Izzy Ogedi-Uzokwe’s drive, it was not enough as the visitors held on for one heck of a hard-fought victory.
Full-Time: West Essex 1 – 2 Whitton Utd
It has to be said that this is a darn hard game to sum up. To call it ‘feisty’ would be an understatement though the one thing we saw in abundance is passion and fortitude. This may not have been the best West performance I’ve seen, though one thing I will ‘stick my neck out’ to say is that they are driven to improve, irrespective of how long that journey takes. Skipper Tom MacLeod stood out for me, reverting to centre-back today and showed again his aerial threat and determined attitude. Fellow defender Sam McNally also had his moments with some good interceptions. Forward Michael Mignot again showed that despite it not being his day in front of goal, he is a difficult player to keep out of the game.
You had to respect Whitton for their guts in defending en-bloc, with centre-back Josh Hubert really shining out for his side with good tackles at times to prevent more chances going the way of the hosts. Also, to hold firm for over an hour with ten men takes some doing, fair play. The front three of Jamie Cole, Liam Wales and Jacob Lay all offered a differing threat too. Cole with his physicality, Wales with his running & finishing and Lay with his pace and trickery. It is arguable that they were trying to ‘take time out of the game’ as well at times and whilst it won’t win them many friends, it did the job for them.
Finally, I’d like to say thanks to West for their hospitality and that by Ricky Eaton and Redbridge FC. Thanks also to Dan Reading.
West Essex | Manager: Kwame Kwateng
Jack Coker (GK), Sanchez Hardy, Sam McNally, Tom MacLeod (Capt), Nick Walk, Emanuel Wazola, Brad Russell, Callum Bloss (Izzy Ogedi-Uzokwe 82’), Joe Lefley (Symeon Taylor 67’), Michael Mignot, Hakim Medfai
Goal-scorer: Tom MacLeod [54’]
Booked: Mignot | Sub Not Used: Russell (GK), French, Leo, Dodon, Gray
Whitton Utd | Manager: Shane Caldron
Lewis Higgins (GK), Lloyd Clarke, Ethan Clarke (Capt), Kevin Inglis (Stef Mallardo 75’), Harry Wales, Josh Hubert, Zehnn Young, Jack Baker, Jamie Cole, Liam Wales, Jacob Lay (Jack Newman 82’)
Goal-scorers: Liam Wales [17’], Jamie Cole [78’]
Booked: L Clarke, Newman | Sent Off: H Wales | Subs Not Used: Garrett, Gittens, Stevens
Referee: Sam Ingrey