Iron cup exit

Chesham United v Braintree Town – Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round – The Meadow, Chesham – Report

Chesham United 3-1 Braintree Town

(after extra time)

Following their 0-0 draw on Saturday, an underwhelming performance by Braintree Town saw them outplayed on the night in their Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round replay as Southern League Premier South Chesham United’s 3-1 win in extra time at The Meadow saw them advance to the First Round Proper of the competition for the first time since 1994 – where they will play Maidstone United over the weekend of the 3rd to 5th November.

Iron enjoyed most of the possession in the first half and they took the lead through Aaron Blair a minute before the break, when his cross into the six-yard box took a deflection off a defender and looped over keeper Zaki Oualah’s head and into the net.

Angelo Harrop’s men continued to take the game to Chatham in the second half, but the clock ticking down, they appeared to sit back on the play somewhat, allowing the home side to get back into the game and the General’s relentless late pressure paid dividends when in the third minute of stoppage time, Kieran Murphy cushioned a header past Braintree custodian Vicente Reyes to make it 1-1 and take the tie to extra time.

With the impetus of the late equaliser behind them, Chesham went 2-1 up four minutes after the restart through Lucas Sinclair, but Iron were thrown a lifeline after being awarded a penalty just three minutes later – only for Blair’s poorly hit spot-kick, stroked low along the ground, to be easily saved by Oualah, much to the delight of the home crowd.   

In a desperate attempt to get back on level terms again, Braintree threw caution to the wind in stoppage time at the end of the second period of extra time and with all eleven Iron players in the Chesham half, the Generals broke for substitute Zak Joseph to slot the ball into an empty net to round off a memorable 3-1 victory at the death.

Braintree manager Angelo Harrop spoke to after the game: “I’m so disappointed. I’m gutted and it’s hurt me and as I’ve told the players I hope they are hurting because we gave this game away make no bones about it.

“We’re 1-0 up and should have scored more but late on and then we invited their pressure and didn’t get out to the ball which we should have done yet we didn’t and it cost us.

“We are too flaky at times and we must have more desire from every player.

“I don’t want us to just play some great stuff and we must be more ruthless in front of goal and that’s what has cost us in both these games.”

“I’m gutted for our fans because they always support in places like this on a Tuesday night and I’m sorry we couldn’t get the job done.”

Braintree Town now switch their attention back to Vanarama National League South this coming Saturday, October 22, when they will entertain Weston-super-Mare at the Rare Breeds Meat Stadium (3pm).

Chesham United: Oualah, Jones, Duru (Joseph) Rolfe (Shulton) Murphy (Capt) Casey, Adebiyi, Rush, Andrade, Edwards (German) Sinclair (Brown) Subs not used: Roberts, Connors

Braintree Town: Reyes, Mason, Carson (White 108’) Watt, Grimwood, Tompkins, Quantrell, Payne (Capt) (Sparkes 96’) W Davies (Herschel 96’) Blair, Blackwell (L Davies 86’) Subs not used: Smith, Stevenson

Referee: Matthew Norton

Assistant Referees: Thomas Hood and Joseph Casey

Fourth Official: Stuart Kyle

Attendance: 826