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Hythe Town 2-0 Staines Town - You dream about days like this, says proud Scott Porter PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 23 October 2010
FA Cup (Sponsored by E.ON) Fourth Qualifying Round
Saturday 23rd October 2010
Stephen McCartney reports from Reachfields Stadium

BRAVEHEARTS Hythe Town produced their biggest ever result in their history as they booked their place in the First Round of The Football Association Challenge Cup for the very first time - leaving their manager Scott Porter speechless and the proudest man in Kent.

Goals from Gary Mickelborough and skipper Dave Cook sent Porter’s HEROES though - as Hythe became the first Kent League club to make it through to the promised land for 53 YEARS.

“I’m absolutely gobsmacked!” Porter told www.kentishfootball.co.uk afterwards.  “We thought we could match them, turn them around as quick as we can.  We knew we couldn’t play a lot of football today, but I said to the lads if we match them with your physical (game), your heart and desire you might get a little bit of luck.

“But we got more than luck.  I think we got what we deserved and that was the 2-0.   Like I say, our keeper didn’t have a save to make but all credit to the lads.  

“You thought we’d tire after 70 minutes - but our fitness levels were fantastic today and that’s what we’ve been working on all season, hard work Tuesday, ball work Thursdays and it’s got our rewards.

“Like I said in the changing room to the lads you’ve done everyone proud, you’ve done the football club proud, yourselves, you’ve done me and everything and like I say I can’t fault no-one and they’ve just matched everything today and it was absolutely fantastic.”

It was a giant-killing, especially as Staines have recent FA Cup pedigree of their own - but Steve Cordery’s side lacked fight and passion, something that was clearly oozing out from the men in red and white as all fourteen players played their part in the Kent League’s second best day ever (after Deal Town's FA Vase win at Wembley Stadium in 2000).

Staines know all about being an underdog, as last season they defeated Shrewsbury Town 1-0 away from home in the First Round, before holding Millwall to a 1-1 draw at Wheatsheaf Park, before going down 4-0 at The New Den in the replay.

And three years ago the Swans defeated League Two outfit Stockport County at home in a penalty shoot out - live in front of the SKY Sports cameras - before going down 5-0 at Peterborough United in the Second Round.

So you could forgive them that all they had to do at fortress Reachfields Stadium and return to west London with a win?

Complacency crept in big time - both on and off the pitch - but fans of Kent League football know that Hythe Town take no prisoners and Staines had no answer to Hythe’s style of play.

Staines Town play three league’s higher than Hythe - and are in fourteenth place in Blue Square Bet South - 58 places higher than Hythe - and with a playing budget of £6,000 per week.

Ali G. You’re boys took one hell of a beating!

Staines supporters were signing in a packed bar before the game “you’re dream is over!” and six minutes before kick-off they chanted “score in a minute, we’re gonna score in a minute” and “Brazil, it’s just like watching Brazil!”

Hythe coach, Nicky Dent, requested a song from the Black Eyed Peas, which blared out of the public address system before the game, with the lyrics of “I’ve got a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night.”

The pubs and clubs in this part of the world are going to make a killing tonight!

The scene was set and Hythe players won their own personal battles all over the pitch and in truth goalkeeper Kieran Mann was hardly tested all afternoon, and for Tonbridge Angels supporters reading this, flop Jacob Mingle was his usual rubbish self!

Hythe Town’s heroes humiliated their more illustrious opponents, which included former Gillingham striker Leroy Griffiths.

This wasn’t the best game in the world.  Hythe didn’t want to play in a game of many chances.  Every player played their part, battling for their lives all over the pitch and their 2-0 victory was no fluke!

Porter kept faith with the same eleven players that came away from Ryman Premier League side Concord Rangers with a 1-0 win in the last round fourteen days ago.  And they didn’t let the home contingent in the 808 crowd down.

Hythe were the more professional outfit, even before the game.  Staines players were joking and laughing during their warm-up and Hythe showed unity when they all sprinted out of the tunnel for their warm-up.

Staines created the first chance, and fluffed their lines.  Griffiths’ corner from the right sailed out to skipper Andre Scarlett, and his 11th minute chip sailed harmlessly over Mann’s crossbar.

Hythe then lost nine-goal striker Brendon Cass with a broken nose - but his replacement Craig Thompson worked his socks off.

Within a minute, Mickelborough carved open a chance for central midfielder Ronnie Dolan, who swept a right-footed drive from 25-yards towards the bottom corner, but Staines keeper Louis Wells made a comfortable save low to his right.

Woeful Staines went route one in the 27th minute when Griffiths flicked on a big punt down the middle of the pitch from Wells and Hythe headed the ball out to Jacob Walcott, and his shot from the edge of the box sailed high and wide.

But Hythe broke the deadlock - with 34:16 on the clock - and the goal galvanised the Kent League side even more.

Left-back John Walker sent the ball over the top and Staines defender Marien Ifura allowed the ball to bounce over his head and Mickelborough cut inside and left two defenders and Wells embarrassed and all he had to do was roll the ball into an empty net from three yards with his right-foot to score his fourth goal of the season, sparking wild celebrations, me included!

Birthday boy, Lee Shearer, 34, was harshly penalised for a handball just outside of the D - but when faced with a five-man wall, Darty Brown slammed a low right-footed free-kick into the wall, before Scarlett’s angled drive from 20-yards bounced wide with Mann struggling.

Hythe almost went into the half-time interval with a dream two goal lead when a slick move down the left involving Mickelborough and Kieran Byrne resulted in Walker cracking an angled right-footed shot from 25-yards, which almost caught out Wells at his near post.

The half-time whistle finally blew at 49:13 and Hythe’s players immediately sprinted off the pitch towards their dressing room, whilst Staines’ players moaned amongst themselves.

Hythe looked to be the higher-league side and Walker stabbed the ball forward and Byrne held the ball up before tricking a couple of players with a fine turn before setting up Cook and his right-footed drive from 30-yards would have dropped into the far corner if it wasn’t for the keeper’s fingertips.

Hythe created yet another chance after 61 minutes when Walker drilled in a cross from the left for the unmarked Thompson at the near post, but his diving header sailed wide with Wells in no-mans land.

It took Staines 68 minutes to call Mann into action as a deep cross from the right by Griffiths was met by substitute Warren Harris at the far post, but his downward header was small fry for the highly-rated goalkeeper.

Harris turned provider when his corner from the left was met by Ifura at the far post, but his header  looped onto the roof of the net.

Influential skipper Cook came within a lick of paint to doubling Hythe’s lead after 75 minutes when he turned and took a touch before cracking a right-footed shot from 40-yards, which agonisingly bounced off the top of the crossbar.

But Hythe deservedly wrapped up the game - and created history - with a second goal just two minutes later - with a quality move.

Thompson released Mickelborough down the right flank and he whipped in an excellent cross which was met by Cook at the far post and he powered his header into the top right-hand corner, sparking pandemonium around Reachfields Stadium.

The only sour note of this wonderful day was the red card for battling midfielder Lee Winfield inside stoppage time.

Winfield knew he was walking following a miss-timed a tackle on Scott Taylor and turned his back on referee Mr Robert Mackay and started walking towards the tunnel before the referee showed a second yellow and then a red.

SHOCKING Staines’ best two chances came against ten-men.

Substitute Taylor swept a left-footed drive from 25-yards, which bounced off the left post and Hythe defender Pat Kingwell - who along with Shearer were excellent - was on hand to pass the ball away.

Mann was forced to back peddle to tip left-back Rene Steer’s looping cross-cum-shot over his own crossbar, but the final whistle brought cheers and tears amongst the Hythe Town faithful and the bar was doing a roaring trade afterwards.

Porter said: “You could say they were awful. Whether they turned up with the wrong attitude or not, I put it down to the way that we played.

“People may say something different, but we stopped them playing.  We turned them around, we made them look very ordinary!  Whether they were up for it or not I don’t know.

“How can you not be up for a game like this? We were certainly up for it.  The lads got better and better as the game progressed and like I say we got our rewards with the result.”

To think that a Kent League side will be ball number 64 in Sunday’s First Round Draw - Live on ITV at 12:30pm is just what dreams are made off - and Hythe Town can now expect national media attention.  

“You dream about days like this,” added 31-year-old Porter.  

“As a youngster you watch non-league clubs in the First Round.  I’m going to be managing a non-league club in the First Round.  My lads, down there, are playing in it and you’re shocked.

“All credit to the football club because they deserve it as well.    I’m speechless because it means a lot to everyone.”

When asked about who he wants to pop out alongside ball number 64, Porter replied, “Well, it’s got to be a League club away, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton and just enjoy the whole day and earn the money out of it and the whole club can enjoy it.  You’re not going to get anything out of those sort of teams and hopefully the draws lucky to us and we can go and enjoy the day because this is nevr going to happen again.”

Guiding the club through Bookham, Deal Town, Epsom & Ewell, Erith & Belvedere, Concord Rangers and now Staines Town has certainly made Porter a proud man.

He said: “I’ve not played at the highest level, I’ve played for Folkestone, but I’ve got a heart and a passion for the game and I try to put that into the players and I think I got my rewards and it’s the proudest moment in football I’ve ever achieved.”

Hythe Town: Kieran Mann, Greg Smith, John Walker, Pat Kingwell, Lee Shearer, Ronnie Dolan, Dave Cook, Lee Winfield, Kieran Byrne (Adam Slegg 90), Brendon Cass (Craig Thompson 14), Gary Mickelborough (Sam Conlon 82).
Subs: Gavin Ransley, Mark Bond, Ashley Porter, Tony Allen.

Goals: Gary Mickelborough 35, Dave Cook 77 

Booked: Lee Winfield 10, Greg Smith 57, Kieran Mann 76

Sent Off: Lee Winfield 90

Staines Town: Louis Wells, Simon Jackson, Rene Steer, Richard Orlu, Marien Ifura, Andre Scarlett (Warren Harris 63) Jacob Mingle, Darty Brown, Leroy Griffiths, Marc Charles-Smith, Jacob Walcott (Scott Taylor 73).
Subs: Dominic Sterling, James King, Gareth Risbridger, James Courtnage, Michael Kamara.

Booked: Richard Orlu 45, Rene Steer 81

Attendance: 808
Referee: Mr Robert Mackay (Biggleswade, Bedfordshire)
Assistants: Mr Jeffrey Stanley (Basildon, Essex) & Mr Garry Maskell (Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex)
Fourth Official: Mr Peter Watson (Chelmsford, Essex)
Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 October 2010 )
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