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|ARLESEY CAUSE TROPHY UPSET
Although there were still a number of original washed out ties left over from Saturday’s FA Trophy Fourth Round, without doubt the outstanding result and performance of Tuesday night goes to Ryman League Division One North outfit Arlesey Town, who ousted Nationwide Conference ‘giants’ Dagenham & Redbridge from the competition in their replay at Hitchin Road.
And make no bones about it, Arlesey deserved their win – this was no flukey success in front of a crowd of 760.
Despite their 3-3 draw on Saturday few people gave Arlesey much hope of bettering that performance, even though they had home advantage. Hopes faded further when the Daggers again took an early lead.
The visitors made a busy start, forcing two quick corners, and had instant success when they scored from the second through Matt Rees, giving Dagenham a 2nd minute lead.
In response Craig Mackail-Smith (pictured) weaved his way forward and keeper Tony Roberts made a finger tip save to deny the eventual Arlesey ‘Man of the Match’.
Dagenham went back on the offensive but Arlesey battled back to equalise just 7 minutes later when a Lee Tekell free-kick was flicked on and then headed in by Mackail-Smith.
Tekell was involved with the second Arlesey goal on 22 minutes when he switched play from defence to attack with one raking pass that sent Mackail-Smith on a lightening run and just when it looked as though he had overrun it, he unleashed a vicious shot that gave Roberts no chance.
It got even better for the Bedfordshire villagers in the 29th minute when Dean Harding chipped the ball forward into the path of Mackail-Smith who sprinted goalwards only to be floored by the keeper, but that was
academic as Leon Gutzmore stroked the loose ball home.
With just 3 minutes gone in the second half the game was virtually over when another Tekell free-kick drew the keeper into 'no-mans land' and Matt Corbould's glancing header flew into the net to increase the lead to an astonishing 4-1.
Arlesey kept up the pressure on Dagenham as attacking was clearly the best form of defence, but Garry Hill’s men kept going forward, although their finishing on the night was abysmal.
However, they did manage to reduce the deficit on 63 minutes when Arlesey’s failure to clear the ball at the first attempt was punished when Danny Shipp stabbed the loose ball home.
Despite a determined late effort from the Conference side, the home defence held strong against their senior opposition and the lessons learned from Saturday were put to good use, ensuring that Kirk Jackson was not as effective as Dagebham would have liked.(www.arleseyfc.co.uk)
Ryman Premier side Kettering Town were unable to emulate Arlesey in defeating a Conference team after having seemingly done the hard part in holding Burton Albion to a draw at Eton Park on Saturday.
However, it was mighty close as it took extra-time before the Brewers eventually scraped through 2-1.
Kettering took a 14th minute lead through Jason Turner but less than a minute into the second half a slip by Poppies on-loan keeper Mark Bunn allowed Jon Howard to equalise.
Three minutes into extra-time, Bunn again was at fault as his under-hit goalkick was pounced upon by Robbie Talbot, who slipped past Brett Solkhon to finish skilfully. But the Poppies had a gilt-edged chance to level matters again in the 100th minute when Andy Lodge was brought down in the box, but the normally so reliable Craig Norman saw his spot-kick saved by Burton ‘keeper Matt Duke.
Duke was a hero again when, in the very last seconds of overtime, he tipped an Ian King free-kick onto the bar and away to safety.
On Saturday Marine struggled to match the power of their fellow UniBond Premier opponents Stalybridge Celtic, and few would argue that the visitors were the better team over the two games.
In a game of few chances Marine probably had the upper hand in the first half. Neil Black and Will Dolan linked up well in the 38th minute but were unlucky to see Dolan's goal-bound shot strike a defender and bounce into the hands of Celtic ‘keeper Craig Dootson.
Right on half-time Paul McNally came close with a header from six yards and the general concensus of opinion during the interval was that one goal would win the game.
This proved right and it on 67 minutes Celtic’s Phil Eastwood reacted quickest in the box to turn the ball past Peter Crookes from a couple of yards.
The rest of the game was notable for a brawl between both sets of players that passed without recrimination and a last attack from Stalybridge that ended with them hitting both post and bar. (www.marinefc.com)
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