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Home arrow Southern Counties East Football League News arrow Hereford United 5-1 Hythe Town - We can walk off the pitch with our heads held high - Porter
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Hereford United 5-1 Hythe Town - We can walk off the pitch with our heads held high - Porter PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 November 2010
HEREFORD UNITED  5-1  HYTHE TOWN
FA Cup (Sponsored by E.ON) First Round
Saturday 6 November 2010
Stephen McCartney reports from Edgar Street

THE DREAM is over - but despite the scoreline Kent League heroes Hythe Town were far from disgraced in their historic FA Cup First Round tie at Hereford United.

Despite going down to a 5-1 defeat - Hereford United’s first win at Edgar Street this season - Hythe matched their professional opponents during parts of this game, but clinical finishing in front of goal proved to be their downfall.

Hereford went into this game sitting in the bottom three in Npower League Two and went into the game 99 places higher than Hythe Town, who were in eighth place in the Safety Net Associates Kent League.

Before the game the home club welcomed back some of the Sothern League heroes that stunned top-flight Newcastle United in a FA Cup Third Round tie in 1972, including Ronnie Radford, who scored THAT goal.

There was, sadly, not going to be a giant-killing here today.  Conceding two inside the opening 21 minutes, through Richard Rose and Rob Purdie, Hythe were always going to face an uphill task.

But the dream was back on just five minutes later when 24-year-old striker Gary Mickelborough - a planning officer for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - created history when he became the first Kent League player to score in the FA Cup First Round for 53 years.

However, a quick-fire brace from Hereford striker Mathieu Manset ensured stunned Hythe went in at the break 4-1 down, but they restored their pride during the second half.

A string off excellent saves from Keiran Mann kept the score down before the impressive Stuart Fleetwood rubbed salt in Hythe’s wounds with a late stoppage time goal.

Manager Scott Porter, when he emerged from the tunnel after the game, was mobbed by a posse of national press jossling for position and the 31-year-old told www.kentishfootball.co.uk  -  brought to you in association with Sporting Kent Magazine – Kent’s only magazine dedicated to sport in our county - how proud he was off his heroic players

He said: “The lads were fantastic from start to finish.  We let ourselves down a little bit in the first half to be honest with you when we let in certain goals, which is basic football, closing your lines, going with your runners, individual mistakes.

“But you know they’re a Football League club and it showed today.  Our lads put everything into that and they’re absolutely shattered in there but they’ve given their all.

“It’s been a great experience and I can’t fault anyone of my players - they’ve been absolutely fantastic.

“It’s what dreams are all about and whatever happened today we knew we was going to come up here and enjoy part of it and we’re going to enjoy tonight as well.

“The lads done well, it’s our seventh game (in the FA Cup) it can’t go wrong and my hat goes off to every single player in that changing room.”

Hythe’s travelling fans arrived at Edgar Street 90 minutes before kick-off and outsung their opposite numbers before, during and after the game, and were a credit to this smashing Kent League club.

Porter added: “I’m glad we scored, that’s the main thing.  The fans were fantastic and it was great.  The noise they made, outsung all these (Hereford) boys here so it’s a credit to our football club.  The amount of people coming up here, it’s a long, old journey, it’s going to be a long journey back but it’s great for the football club and I’m a proud man.”

Hereford started the game on the attack and following a long run up, Hereford left-back Dominik Werling slammed a 30-yard free-kick embarrassingly wide.

But Hereford broke the deadlock after just eight minutes when Rose’s run wasn’t tracked by the Hythe defence following Fleetwood’s ball inside from the left flank and Rose swept a left-footed shot past a stranded Kieran Mann from 20-yards.

Hythe almost pulled a goal back when central defender Lee Shearer floated the ball into the penalty area, but Kieran Bryne’s right-footed volley sailed over.

Fleetwood was the thorn in Hythe’s side throughout and he was denied by a smart low save by busy Hythe keeper Mann, as Hereford started with a high tempo.

They doubled their lead after 21 minutes when left winger Rob Purdie was released through on goal and he chipped the ball over the advancing Mann.

Mann made the first of many impressive saves when he tipped over Manset’s fierce drive after Fleetwood’s chipped cross.

But Hythe pulled a goal back after 26 minutes and Mickelborough will remember this moment for the rest of his life.

Striker Brendon Cass played a delightful diagonal pass sliding through the heart of the Hereford defence and the Ashford resident swept a right-footed shot across Adam Bartlett and into the back of the net, sparking wild scenes from the Kent followers.

Mickelborough admitted to www.kentishfootball.co.uk -  brought to you in association with Sporting Kent Magazine – Kent’s only magazine dedicated to sport in our county - afterwards that he was proud of his fourth and final FA Cup goal of the season - his fifth goal overall.

“It’s something I can tell the grandchildren,” he said.  “It really sinks in when you see your mum, dad and girlfriend and all your family and the look on their faces, giving me cuddles (after the game), that’s when it really sinks in.

“What an achievement it is and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.  It was very special.  I stayed out there at the end and I was the last one back in, just soaking it all in with my family.”

Nervous Mann fumbled another Werling long-range free-kick, before the League Two side ran riot just before the break.

Werling swung in a corner from the left, which found it’s way to Fleetwood at the far post and a showboating Manset extended the Bulls’ advantage with an audacious acrobatic bicycle kick from eight-yards, which dropped into the far corner after 39 even minutes.

Manset then turned provider with a cut-back for Rose, which enhanced Mann’s confidence with a fine block, but Hereford went in at the break 4-1 to the good through Manset.

James McQuilkin swung in a corner from the left, which Mann spilt above his head and Manset rose to nod the ball over the line.

Hythe thought they had won themselves a free-kick when the flag went up but referee Andy D’Urso - who later failed to award the Kent side a 56th minute penalty when Mickelborough appeared to have been fouled by Werling - awarded the goal, just a minute before half-time.

Porter admitted that Mann was downbeat during the half-time interval, but the manager’s motivational skills definitely came to the fore during the 15 minutes he had with him as the 23-year-old former Folkestone Invicta stopper excelled later on in the game.

“He was disappointed at half-time,” revealed Porter.  “He was down like everyone was but we got everyone back up.

“Basically it could’ve been a cricket score, no disrespect to my lads, we know that, but Kieron was fantastic today, everyone was.  

“I’m not going to pick one person out but Kieron kept us in the game for as long as we could.”

With his side looking dead and buried at the break, Porter rallied his troops and they played with more desire and restored their pride after the break.

“We wanted to make the second half 0-0 or we win the second half, and it was disappointing with the goal going in at the end but at the end of the day they had so many chances and it could’ve been more.”

Determined Hythe attacked with purpose, although Hereford looked dangerous down the right wing with Joe Colbeck attacking with purpose and he provided the ammunition for Fleetwood on many a occasion.

Fleetwood’s right-footed effort sailed over Mann and crashed back down off the underside of the Hythe crossbar after 61 minutes before Colbeck played a give and go with Fleetwood, who played the ball in between Shearer and left-back John Walker for Colbeck to blast his shot into the home fans.

Hythe’s efforts deserved a second goal and Mickelborough blasted over from 25-yards, before Hereford stepped up another gear.

Werling swung in a corner from the left, which found it’s way to debutant substitute Nicky Featherstone but the loanee from Hull City flashed his shot just past the foot of the near post.

Mann excelled when he won a personal dual with Fleetwood, making two fine smart saves, but his best save of the game was to deny Colbeck from six-yards, tipping over a fierce drive, following Fleetwood’s cut back.

Hereford keeper Bartlett made his only save of the game in the 85th minute.

Long-serving stalwart Lee Winfield floated in a free-kick from the right and found nine-goal Cass at the near post but he flicked the ball straight at the goalkeeper just six-yards from goal.

But Fleetwood was not to be denied when in the third minute of time added on, he tapped the ball over the line from a couple of yards out, following a low centre from the right, after Mann failed to collect a cross beside his left-hand post.

The final whistle brought emotional scenes as the Hythe Heroes went over to their excellent fans and they deserved their plaudits.  It’s been 53 years since a Kent League club reached the First Round of the FA Cup and it was a good to be there.

The national media had long dispersed by the time Porter said: “There was no disgrace.  It was one step too far today.  You saw the quality off a Football League side.  Our lads caused them a couple of problems.
All credit to every single player in that dressing room, the lads who work behind the scenes, the directors, everyone deserves it at the football club.  They put so much work in and we’re proud as a team and as a club as we walked off today.”

Porter paid tribute to his supporters, saying, “Without them the lads wouldn’t have got the send-off we got.  All credit goes to everyone (including club secretary Martin Giles), who put on the coaches and the people who turned up today.  I would like to say it was a good end to a fantastic cup run.

“Like I said to the lads before the game whatever happens today we could walk off this pitch and hold our heads high because of what we’ve achieved.  A club at our level doesn’t expect to get to the FA Cup First Round.  It’s just been a dream, all the media attention, the FA Cup coming to the ground, staying away in hotels, living the life of a professional footballer for two weeks.  Like I say it’s a dream come true and nobody will forget 2010 for Hythe Town.  I certainly won’t.”

Reflecting on the game, historic goalscorer Mickelborough admitted the start cost his team-mates.

“Second half, I think we matched them a bit more but we left ourselves down in the first half as we gifted them two or three goals, which we wouldn’t have done otherwise,” said the former athlete.

“Who would’ve thought back at Bookham (in the Extra Preliminary Round on 14 August) winning 4-0 that we’d get to this level.

“It’s good to get to this level, we just have to enjoy the moment really, it’s all we can do now.  We’ve given it a shot but it hasn’t happened, better luck next year.”

Mickelborough added: “I don’t really know what to say, I’m struggling for words.  I’m getting mixed emotions at the moment, getting the goal, ecstatic, and then realising we’ve lost the game.”

Praising the travelling fans, he added: “I think the 252 over in the Hythe corner were the loudest of the lot of them, they did us proud today.  It was really loud when you hear all the fans when you walked out.”

“Going 2-0 down so early it didn’t help ourselves really.  They just had that extra fitness, extra edge over us in departments. 

“Good luck to them.  I hope they get a good draw in the next round and see who we could have got.”

Hythe Town can be extremely proud of themselves not only for today, but winning against the odds against Concord Rangers (Ryman Premier) and Staines Town (Blue Square Bet South) in the last two qualifying rounds. 

Thank you for the memories!  We're all extremely proud of every single one of you!
 
Report brought to you in association with Sporting Kent Magazine – Kent’s only magazine dedicated to sport in our county


Hereford United: Adam Bartlett, Ryan Green, Michael Townsend, Richard Rose, Stuart Fleetwood, Matthieu Manset (Sean Canham 56), James McQuilkin (Nicky Featherstone 56), Joe Colbeck, Tyler Weir, Dominik Werling, Rob Purdie (Aiden Thomas 75).
Subs: Daniel Stratford, Sean Canham, Sam Gwynne, Kenny Lunt, Zac Evans.

Goals: Richard Rose 8, Rob Purdie 21, Mathieu Manset 39, 44, Stuart Fleetwood 90

Booked: Ryan Green 53, Stuart Fleetwood 63

Hythe Town: Kieron Mann, Greg Smith, John Walker (Mark Bond 87), Pat Kingwell, Lee Shearer, Ronnie Dolan, David Cook, Lee Winfield, Kieran Byrne (Craig Thompson 65), Brendon Cass, Gary Mickelborough (Sam Conlon 84).
Subs: Adam Slegg, Gavin Ransley, Ashley Porter, Tony Allen.

Goal: Gary Mickelborough 26

Booked: Dave Cook 4, John Walker 26

Attendance: 2,217 (252 away supporters)
Referee: Mr Andy Durso
Assistants: Mr P Rees & Mr A Laver
Fourth Official: Mr T Wood
Last Updated ( Saturday, 06 November 2010 )
 
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