Biggleswade FC 3-5 Soham Town Rangers: FA Cup dreams dashed at Langford Road in goal-laden preliminary round clash
- Credit: Archant
Soham Town Rangers emerged 5-3 victors against Biggleswade FC in their FA Cup preliminary round tie in front of 138 fans at Langford Road on Tuesday evening.
An early goal from Justin Leavers was cancelled out Lewis Endacott in a scrappy first half, before the match exploded into life in the second half.
Soham’s No9 Marcus Hall put the visitors ahead with an excellent finish before Endacott grabbed his second before FC captain Tom Coles pulled one back to make it 3-2.
Just as Dave Northfield and Mark Inskip’s men were preparing to mount a full-blooded assault to level Soham broke to make it 4-2 through a second from Hall.
Coles then pulled a goal back to make it 4-3 with seconds remaining to set up a hectic finish but the away side swept upfield to make the final score 5-3.
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The match had been re-arranged following a sickening clash of heads between Soham team-mates Callum Russell and Phil Turner which fans could hear from the stands forced the referee to abandon the original tie last month.
The game had been halted for around half an hour after the injuries, with physios from both teams aiding the stricken players before paramedics arrived on the scene to treat the men.
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The shaken Russell was allowed to go home while Turner was taken to hospital for further treatment including a number of stitches.
The prompt action from the Langford Road staff led to the Soham chairman Stuart Hamilton to hail the hosts ‘understanding and assistance’.
While the mutual respect was clearly evident off the pitch in the stands and the boardroom prior to kick-off the match was played in a fiercely competitive spirit – just as it should be.
Prior to kick-off Joe Bradbury limped out of the warm up, resulting in a start for Sam Kelly started while Matt Richardson moved to the bench.
Northfield and Inskip’s side started brightly under floodlights as vehicles on the nearby Great North Road sped past oblivious to the fact a knock-out tie in the world’s oldest knock-out competition was taking place yards from their vehicles.
The drone of speeding traffic was drowned out on eight minutes by cheers from the home support after the home side went 1-0 ahead through a clinical finish on the half-volley from Justin Leavers following a cross into a crowded box from captain Tom Coles.
It was nothing more than the home side deserved after showing the intensity in the early stages that had propelled them into second place in the Spartans South Midlands League after a resounding 4-0 victory over North Greenford United at the weekend.
Biggleswade had made it through to the preliminary round after their first-ever victory in the FA Cup in early August, beating Northampton ON Chenecks in the extra preliminary round.
With a tie awaiting against FC Romania this weekend, who play at Cheshunt there was all to play for.
However, dreams from the home support of cup progression were halted only seven minutes later as FC’s’ lead was cancelled out by Endacott who drew the visitors level with a close range header.
The match was full of endeavour and passion from both sides, which, while, occasionally bordered on the edge of propriety, was full of honest effort and commitment.
Biggleswade could have gone ahead again on 29 minutes as the bustling Leavers fired powerfully across goal from the right.
Unfortunately for the home side the ball flew over, even if the move was indicative of the powerful qualities the former Cambridge United youth possesses.
As a first half high on perspiration if not inspiration drew to a close both sets of fans assembled applauded their men off, in acknowledgement of their full-blooded commitment – even if the quality on offer was not reflective of the players collective talents.
Excellent technique came to the fore early in the second period after Hall executed a crisp finish across keeper Ross Tompkins to put the visitors 2-1 ahead seven minutes after the break.
There was more display Endacott grabbed his second of the evening after showing a calm head to slot past an onrushing Tompkins to make it 3-1 on 64 minutes.
Coles reduced the deficit 60 seconds later to make the score 3-2 after an excellent cross from left-back Lawrie Marsh.
The goal was a bid to set up a barnstorming finish with Northfield and Inskip’s men seeking to reach parity, as the match opened up in the latter stages.
However in their desire to level, Biggleswade lost possession as Soham broke, countering swiftly in a flowing move which culminated in a fourth, and a second on the night for Hall as the score became 4-2.
Coles could have reduced the deficit moments later but his angled header flew narrowly over Joshua Pipe’s top left hand corner, but the Biggleswade man notched a third for the home side with a well-aimed header with moments left.
There was only time for Soham to net their fifth through Hall, in an entertaining second half as they sealed the win to progress, while pocketing a fee of £2,750 for the victory.