Romford 3 Stowmarket Town 1
Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay
Report by Gary Redwing
Romford were victorious in their FA Cup Replay and will now face local rivals Hornchurch at home on Saturday week.
Paul Martin had already been forced to change three players from the original tie with Nick Reynolds, Michael Gooch and Daniel Akande unavailable and it did not help the Boro manager when Ayo Olukoga broke down in the warm up. Romford started well and in the opening minutes Jonathan Adebayo slipped in Chris Taylor who rounded the keeper, but the visitor’s stopper did just enough to get back and finger tip the ball into the side netting.
Stowmarket had lots of possession in the first half but it was mainly around the edge of their own box and they were rarely able to venture forward into the danger zones as a disciplined Boro side were all working extremely hard to press and close them down. With neither keeper being threatened Romford did however make the better chances, but on more than one occasion failed to hit the target.
However the stalemate was broken in the twenty-sixth minute when Adebayo won the ball back just outside the area and managed to dance his way past three players before blasting the ball home via the near post to give Romford the lead. Boro knew that they had to stay alert but still conceded two minutes later when a mistake from Ryan Burt-Allen allowed Danny Cunningham space in the box, and the Stowmarket forward slashed the ball home to level the scores.
Neither team created much more until just before half time when Ben Clarke made space on the right wing and whipped in a fantastic ball to Jonathan Nzengo at the far post. The Romford winger did well to get in ahead of a defender and chest the ball over the line to restore the lead for the Boro. In first half stoppage time a free kick for the visitors was headed onto the underside of the bar before the ball was eventually cleared.
Despite being behind and making changes Stowmarket never seemed rushed and always seemed happy to pass the ball slowly around their back four and even the keeper. With time ticking away a mistake from the visitor’s keeper was nearly punished by Clarke, but his effort from way out was not powerful enough to beat the stopper who made amends by making up the ground to prevent the ball going into the empty net.
Moments later at the other end Stowmarket had a great chance to pull level when their forward was unmarked in the box, but his header was tipped wide by Stephen Reynolds.
With twelve minutes remaining Romford produced the move of the match when a dinked ball over the top found Manny Brown on the right and his pull back was swept home by Chris Taylor off the far post to give Romford some breathing space. Stowmarket had to play the last few minutes with ten men as an injury forced off a midfielder after all three substitutes had been used and Romford easily saw out the match.
It was a vital win for the club and the £1950 prize money will greatly help with running costs.