NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Eynesbury Rovers earn FA Cup success despite midfield man seeing red
- Credit: Archant
Eynesbury avoided slipping on a potential FA Cup banana skin last Saturday as two players claimed their first club goals.
The United Counties League Premier Division side continued their unbeaten start to the new campaign when triumphing 2-1 at Division One outfit Raunds Town in the extra preliminary round.
Defender Luke Smith headed a 17th minute opener from Danny Draper’s corner, but Rovers were pegged back just before the break by former St Ives, Godmanchester Rovers and Huntingdon Town man Ben Keating.
Draper was again the architect as Eynesbury regained the lead four minutes into the second half when his low cross was lashed into the roof of the net by T’ai Williams.
Rovers had to see out the contest with 10 men following the dismissal of Rob Ducket, who had been brought on as a substitute at half-time, with 20 minutes to go. He saw red after an off-the-ball altercation with Raunds man Martin Gardner, who escaped with a caution.
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But Eynesbury were rarely troubled as they pocketed £2,250 in prize money and sealed a trip to Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division title fancies Histon in the next round on August 25.
“It’s pleasing to make progress in the FA Cup,” said Rovers chairman Matt Plumb. “But our performance wasn’t the best in all truth.
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“We were probably guilty of taking Raunds a little bit lightly and we allowed them to grow into the game which led to them levelling.
“Our boys got a rocket at half-time and responded well. Even after going down to 10 men we were pretty comfortable and created more chances than Raunds.
“We’ve got a tough tie to come now at Histon in the next round, but I think we’ll probably play a bit better against a better side.”
Ducket’s dismissal was a second red card in as many matches after Eynesbury had goalkeeper Aaron Butcher sent off in the dying moments of a first Premier Division success of the campaign against Rothwell Corinthians last Tuesday.
The Rovers number one received his marching orders in the seventh minute of stoppage time at Hall Road after dashing from his box to make what the referee deemed to be a dangerous challenge.
Wideman Jemale McKenzie donned the gloves but was untroubled as Rovers closed out a 2-1 victory earned by two goals in the final eight minutes of the first half.
James Tricks pounced for the opener after a Danny Draper shot was saved before Draper himself doubled the lead in similar fashion after McKenzie’s initial effort had been parried.
Eynesbury saw their lead halved with 20 minutes to go, but never looked like conceding again.
They return to league action this Saturday when hosting Harborough Town and face a race against time to draft in a goalkeeper to replace the suspended Butcher.
The clash against Harborough is also the final match of Rovers manager Mark Ducket’s stadium ban.
* Eynesbury chairman Plumb was recently presented with a new spray marker machine as a reward for winning the Groundsteam of the Year accolade in the Hunts FA annual Grassroots Awards.