FA Cup Preliminary Round

Wimborne Town 1

(Toby Holmes)

Alresford Town 1

(Babacarr Bojang)

Attendance: 248

W+S Stadium

FA Cup fever again, yes twice in the space of a couple of weeks, all these games in the world’s best cup competition and not much coverage until the first round proper, however this season I am going to see how many rounds I can get to.

After seeing Verwood progress to the next round in an Extra Preliminary Round replay against Hengrove Athletic, the setting for my Preliminary Round fixture was The Cuthbury, home of Wimborne Town.

With a handful of potential FA Cup ties to attend, I picked Wimborne on the basis that the A31 traffic didn’t look too bad and it was a new ground for me to visit, that simple eh?

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The Ground

Arriving at the stadium to a pretty organised car park that had overflown onto what I assume is the team’s training pitch I was impressed from the off.

An enclosed ground I was quite excited when approaching the turnstiles, however I did spend about 10 seconds working out if I could watch the game through a sizable hole in the fence behind the goal!

Paying £9 entry was a little steep but I wasn’t going to turn around and go home so in I went and the first thing I saw was the mammoth slope on the pitch. From the ground entrance the pitch sloped width ways down towards the opposite touchline, mixed with the strong winds the game was always going to be a testing one for those on the pitch.

With a small hut selling merchandise and a BBQ area with tables, it definitely had a feel of a Tier 8 club (or higher) with significant improvements to some Tier 9-12 grounds I have visited in recent months.

I did my customary walk around the perimeter of the pitch and decided to take shelter in the main seated area. Behind one goal and down one side is all uncovered standing with a cool manual big scoreboard situated between the dugouts and underneath a little gantry for filming the match. Behind the opposite goal is covered standing before coming back to the entrance where there is ‘modern’ plastic seating reserved for home and away directors and then more traditional bench seats for ‘economy class’ as it will be referred to as.

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The Game

It was a battle of the Magpies as Babacarr Bojang’s late equaliser caused a little FA Cup Preliminary Round shock as Alresford Town forced higher league opposition Wimborne Town to an FA Cup replay.

With both teams sharing the same nickname, it was the home magpies who took an early lead through Toby Holmes before a spirited comeback from the side one step lower forced a replay.

Wimborne were dominant in the early exchanges, showing clearly who were the higher ranked side in the fixture. Full back Billy Maybury had the first chance of the game when he dragged his shot wide after finding him self in an attacking area.

It took about 11 minutes for the home side the break the deadlock when, manager’s son Luke Holmes played a well weighted ball through the defence to namesake Toby who let the ball roll across him before finishing in the opposite corner.

Alresford rarely threatened but right back Tom Richards would miss a golden chance for an equaliser when he fluffed a shot from Bojang’s low cross.

Luke Holmes was pulling the strings in midfield and he nearly set up an identical chance that led to goal, with Toby Holmes failing to hit the target for his second of the afternoon.

Dan O’Sullivan had a great chance to double the score when he found himself in acres of space after picking up a long ambitious diagonal pass but his shot went just wide of the mark.

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The away side had the wind behind them but didn’t seem to be using the advantage as they found themselves trailing at the break.

Whatever manager Richard Luffman said to his side at half time must have done the trick as Alresford came out with their eye on putting their name in the hat for the next round.

Wimborne were caught napping at the back as Chris Mason stole the ball before forcing a good save from Pat O’Flaherty who tipped the ball over the bar.

Alresford made an inspired substitution, bringing on wide man Mohammad Nyang who caused problems for Wimborne’s back four. Nyang then put in a good cross to Bojang who failed to hit the target as it looked like Alresford needed some urgent shooting practice.

Wimborne did compose themselves and managed to have a little spell on the ball and Sam Bayston should have done better with his shot when he cut inside and curled one around the post.

Alresford threw men forward with minutes to go and got their rewards when Bojang prodded in the ball through a crowded box from a mad scramble. Mason had forced a save from the ‘keeper before Jamie Nash had an effort blocked. Nyang kept the ball alive in the box before Bojang slotted home leading to a crazy celebration from the away side.

Wimborne through everything at the visitors in the last seconds but Luffman’s men held on to secure a replay back at Arlebury Park on Wednesday.

2016/17 Games: 19

2016/17 Grounds: 20

Total Grounds Visited: 162

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