Potters Bar Town pay the penalty as FA Cup adventure ends at Chesham United
PUBLISHED: 19:27 15 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:15 17 October 2016
Potters Bar Town's record-equalling run to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round ended in defeat as they were beaten 1-0 by Southern League Premier Division Chesham United at the Meadow this afternoon (Saturday).
Having only ever reached this stage once before, back in the 2006/7 season when they lost to Conference side Woking, the Scholars set their sights on a dream passage to the first round proper where the likes of Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic and Sheffield United laid in wait.
However, Drew Roberts’ 13th-minute penalty, after Ashley Nathaniel-George had felled Benji Crilley as he cut in off the right flank, was the difference between the two sides who both finished with 10 men.
The magic of the cup was clear on the terraces with 777 in attendance to watch this clash but that magic was not transferred onto the pitch in a dour game.
Roberts’ effort was the only real moment of note in the first half and it took until the hour for next clearest sight of goal as substitute Brad Wadkins curled a shot wide with the goal gaping.
Bar were prompted to attack more in the final 10 minutes as Adam Martin was given his marching orders for a yellow card after scything down Nathaniel-George.
Danny Hart, on for Michael Murray, had the visitors’ two best chances, first side-footing past the past before lashing over following a corner.
The away side had a lucky escape when Matt Taylor fizzed a shot against Ravan Constable’s right-hand post but moments later Will Wambeek saw red for a nasty challenge and that was to the final act of Bar’s heroic FA Cup adventure for this season.
Steve Ringrose made just one change from the side that toppled Vanarama National League South side Bath City in a replay in the previous round.
Sean Grace came in for the injured Billy Baird at the back.
Bizarrely the two sides had had a dress rehearsal for today’s clash at the Pakex Stadium on Tuesday night as Chesham scored an injury-time winner to knock Bar out of the Southern League Cup.
The two managers, Ringrose and Andy Leese, had made an agreement to play their reserve sides in the encounter to ensure their first team would be available for the main event.
The midweek bout, that finished 3-2, certainly threw up more excitement than this game.
Neither side were really troubled in the opening 10 minutes.
The best chance was almost created by veteran striker Barry Hayles.
Crilley’s driven cross was taken down by the former Fulham, Millwall and Leicester City man, now 44 years-old, but the ball dropped too close to Constable.
The Generals, who removed League Two Bristol Rovers from last season’s FA Cup before surrendering to League One Bradford City, had marginally shaded the opening stages but were gifted their lead through Nathaniel-George’s’ clumsy challenge.
Despite the goal Bar remained determined, sticking to their gameplan and they matched their hosts, currently 11th in the division above Bar, stride for stride.
Their good containing work was almost done in the 33rd minute as confusion at the back saw Constable lose the flight of the ball and fail to clear, only teeing it up for Ryan Blake.
Blake’s attempted 20-yard effort looked to be heading towards the corner but a defender flung himself at the ball to deflect it wide of the goal.
Bar continued to look more threatening from set-pieces but they could not test Ashlee Jones at all.
They should have done better when Murray strode into the box and got to the by-line but his cutback was swept clear by the United defence.
At the other end, Taylor could not fashion a shot when twice denied at the near post by Bar’s resolute defence.
The two sides emerged from the dressing room with more vigour, looking to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Roberts momentarily brought the crowd from its stupor five minutes after the interval as his run and shot was desperately blocked for a corner which eventually came to nothing.
Several minutes later Bar had the ball in the net. Defender Carl McCluskey looked to have wriggled free in the box but was adjudged offside.
As the game wore on chances began to appear.
Wadkins could only curl wide of an empty net when faced with an on-rushing Constable on the angle while his powerful cross was turned by well by Grace moments later.
Ryan Forde also tested Jones with a shot as both sides finally escaped their shackles of nervousness.
Bar’s task was made a little easier as Martin was dismissed for a lunge on Nathaniel-George in the 80th minute and they finally took the game to the home side.
Hart will wonder what might have been had he scored with either of his gild-edged chances.
The away side just could not find the net and might have left Buckinghamshire with a worse scoreline as Taylor rattled the woodwork in added time.
Wambeek was sent-off after a poorly-executed tackle on Michael Gorniak soon after with his team-mates not far behind him as Bar bowed out.
Chesham United – Jones, Crilley, Wilson (capt), Mitchell-King (Gorniak, 82), Purse, Martin, Pearce, Taylor, Hayles (Wadkins, 55), Roberts, Blake. Subs not used – Price, Youngs, Hamilton-Forbes, McKenzine, Dennis.
Potters Bar Town – Constable, Wambeek, Jones, McCluskey, Grace, Forde, Bennett (Simpson, 70), Doyle, Murray (Hart, 63), Casey, Nathaniel-George. Subs not used – Gilsenan, Lyons, Lawrence, McCardle, Pett.