Merstham 0-5 Oxford United: FA Cup first round – as it happened

05 November 2016 02:31
Oxford proved too strong for their non-league opponents, as Kane Hemmings scored twice in a victory that was more closely fought than the scoreline suggests 2.31pm GMT That’s all from me. Join Rob Smyth to see if anyone can spring a Cupset in the 3pm games. It has to happen somewhere, right? Thanks for joining me. Bye! 2.29pm GMT Here’s Michael Appleton (already!):“The lads did a reasonable job, very professional. I think the lads we played today, had the quality to see us through” 2.26pm GMT No upset here, as Oxford stroll into the second round with goals from Alex MacDonald, Tyler Roberts, Josh Ruffels and a double for Kane Hemmings. 2.23pm GMT 91 mins: There will be two added minutes. Merstham really didn’t deserve to get a hiding, but Oxford have been clinical, particularly in the second half. 2.23pm GMT Marvin Johnson turns in the area and fires low across goal. Wilson gets down to parry the ball, but only into the path of Hemmings, who gets his second of the match. 2.21pm GMT 87 mins: Addai commits a weary foul, allowing MacDonald the chance to swing the ball in – but his free kick is cleared away. 2.19pm GMT 85 mins: All about Merstham trying to find a consolation goal now – and Foulkes goes close, latching on to Bennett’s diagonal pass and shooting low across goal – but Eastwood saves well with his feet. 2.16pm GMT 82 mins: GOOOAAA Bennett puts the ball in the net – but is flagged for offside! Hector pops up on the right, and his shot is pushed into Bennett’s path by Eastwood – but he’s a good yard offside. Still, have a heart, lino. 2.14pm GMT 80 mins: Bird is still bellowing at his charges, but they’re a tired bunch now. Sercombe charges past Douglas and fires a shot towards the near post – but Wilson parries away. The goalkeeper has played very well, but still conceded four. 2.11pm GMT 78 mins: Ledson shoots from distance, and Wilson lets it escape his grasp – but the keeper gets up quickly to gather the ball ahead of Hemmings. 2.10pm GMT 77 mins: Bennett’s corner drops towards the near post, with Eastwood coming to claim it, and failing – but Brooks blows up for a push in the penalty area. 2.09pm GMT 76 mins: Bennett wriggles free of his marker and curls a shot on goal from 20 yards out, but it’s straight at Eastwood. Merstham win the ball back, and Hector’s cross from the left earns a corner. 2.08pm GMT 75 mins: Taylor shifts wide and picks out Hemmings in the middle – but his cross is just too high, and Hemmings heads over. 2.07pm GMT 74 mins: There are plenty of positives for Oxford, with several fringe players staking a claim today. Last season, they beat teams from all of England’s top five tiers – they will add a seventh-tier scalp today. 2.06pm GMT 72 mins: Folkes hasn’t been able to influence the game, and is unable to bring a long ball under control. 2.04pm GMT Don’t forget you can follow the rest of Saturday’s FA Cup action with Rob Smyth, as Chesham go to Peterborough, Dover visit Cambridge, and in my pick for a potential upset, Spennymoor go to out-of-form MK Dons. Related: West Ham v Stoke City, FA Cup first round and more: clockwatch – live! 2.02pm GMT 68 mins: A rare lull, as Merstham try to regroup and Oxford step off the gas. Goalscorer Roberts – incidentally, on loan from West Brom –goes off, replaced by Joe Rothwell. 1.59pm GMT 65 mins: Vidal’s game is over, as he is replaced by the superbly named Tutu Henriques. Surely a case of damage limitation, after Oxford picked the hosts apart twice in quick succession. 1.58pm GMT 63 mins: Two goals in a minute, as MacDonald’s cute through ball finds Tyler Roberts, whose angled shot is fired through Wilson’s legs, and into the net. 1.56pm GMT Oxford fans aside, nobody wants to see this. 1.55pm GMT Ruffels splits the Merstham defence with a slide-rule pass, and Hemmings races clear, before slotting the ball past Wilson to end the game as a contest. 1.53pm GMT 60 mins: The attacking change has helped Merstham have an impact, with Kavanagh the latest home player to fire on goal – but his fierce effort from distance is blocked. At the other end, Ledson is given too much time 25 yards out, and his shot is smartly turned behind by Wilson. 1.52pm GMT 59 mins: Eastwood wangs a clearance high into the air, and into the path of Vidal, who finds Hector with an exceptional first-touch pass. Hector, another tricky wide player, drives a low shot which Eastwood gets down well to hold. 1.50pm GMT 58 mins: Bennett swings a cross to the near post, but Dunkley is first to it, and heads clear. 1.50pm GMT 57 mins: Bennett finds Addai, who draws a foul from Johnson. A chance for Bennett to forget all that tiki-taka stuff, and haul one into the mixer. 1.49pm GMT 56 mins: Taylor tries to outmuscle Okoye, but the centre-back stays strong. Their relentless personal battle has been one of the highlights today. 1.47pm GMT 54 mins: MacDonald’s corner bobbles around the Merstham box, but dribbles behind for a goal kick. I wouldn’t fancy living in earshot of Moatside – the PA system is both overbearingly loud and completely indecipherable. 1.46pm GMT 53 mins: Hall dusts himself off and heads for the bench, along with Kershaney Samuels, as Hector and No9 Folkes come on – that’s a bold double change for the hosts. 1.46pm GMT 1.45pm GMT 52 mins: Okoye, an imposing presence in the Merstham defence, wins the ball off Taylor with a firm, but well-timed, challenge. Reece Hall is less disciplined, lunging in on MacDonald and picking up a booking. 1.44pm GMT 50 mins: Bennett almost times his run between the centre-backs from a long diagonal ball, but is a yard offside. Hayden Bird is going to make two changes, Dan Hector and Omar Folkes coming on. 1.42pm GMT 49 mins: Oxford push forward, but two scuffed shots in quick succession end their attack, and draw ironic cheers from the home fans. Merstham are about to make their first change. 1.41pm GMT 47 mins: Johnson sprints down the left but can’t catch a long ball forward. Here’s Phil Withall:“Merstham both lucky and unlucky so far, but the most interesting thing has been the people in the crowd that a so obviously not regular football attendees. Clapping without confidence, looking sheepishly at the people next to them. That is the true magic of the cup.” 1.39pm GMT We’re back under way. 1.30pm GMT Half-time viewingThere are plenty more Cup ties kicking off at 3pm – including Midland League club Westfields’ home game against Curzon Ashton. The Hereford club are among the lowest-ranked sides ever to play in the first round proper – here’s how they did it: 1.27pm GMT Plenty of non-league managers will tell you their team like to play good football – but Bird has delivered, with Merstham’s best moments coming from tidy attacking interplay. That said, they could do with a more imposing figure in the area – perhaps Omar Folkes, a headline writer’s dream on 5 November, can make the difference. 1.23pm GMT An entertaining first half, with chances for both sides, but an Alex MacDonald free kick and a header from Josh Ruffels have put the League One team in command. 1.21pm GMT 45 mins: Merstham have had half-chances, and another almost falls to Hall – but as he closes in on Eastwood, the ball is scrambled away. 1.20pm GMT Oxford click through the gears, Sercombe and Taylor moving the ball forward, and with the home defence ball-watching, Ruffels is unmarked to head Johnson’s cross past Wilson, and give the visitors a comfortable cushion. 1.18pm GMT 42 mins: Merstham continue to ping the ball around the midfield, but Antoine Douglas gives the ball away, trying to be a little too clever. Oxford break. 1.15pm GMT 40 mins: The corner is heaved in to the far post, where Dunkley, racing up from the back, gets a jump on the defender and heads just over the bar. 1.14pm GMT 39 mins: It looked set to be a long afternoon for Merstham early on, but they’ve gone toe-to-toe with Oxford in the last 15 minutes. For the visitors, Taylor holds the ball up, but sees his long-range effort deflected behind off Okoye. 1.12pm GMT 37 mins: It’s cleared by Ledsom, but the ball is moved right to Addai, who can’t pick out a team-mate in the middle. The move breaks down, and a frustrated Vidal upends Sercombe, earning the third booking of the game. 1.11pm GMT 36 mins: Vidal swings in a corner, which is hoofed clear – but the ball comes straight back, and Hall is hauled down by Sercombe. Free kick, which Vidal will take from the left. 1.09pm GMT 34 mins: Kavanagh is the latest Merstham player to have a shot on goal, twisting to find space 15 yards out but seeing his effort blocked. Oxford break, and Hemmings races into the penalty area, but his shot from a tight angle is parried away by Wilson. 1.07pm GMT 1.07pm GMT 32 mins: Addai gets free again, but his awkward header from a left-wing cross loops onto the roof of Eastwood’s goal. Oxford being given fair warning here. 1.06pm GMT 31 mins: Addai is again given too much space down the right, and pulls the ball back to Vidal – but his shot, from 25 yards, clears the line of trees behind the Oxford goal. 1.03pm GMT 28 mins: MacDonald dances between defenders, just outside the area – and then throws himself over in search of another free kick in a dangerous spot. Brooks is unimpressed, and books him for diving. 1.02pm GMT 27 mins: We’re heading into Proper Cup Tie territory, as Merstham break upfield. Addai, the hosts’ standout player so far, fires a fierce low ball across the area, but nobody is on hand to turn it in. 1.00pm GMT 26 mins: MacDonald serves up another silky set-piece, finding Dunkley with his cross – but Wilson springs to his right to make a superb diving save! Not sure how he kept that out. 12.59pm GMT 25 mins: Okoye, a former Dulwich Hamlet player along with Vidal, Wilson and Kershaney Samuels, goes in the book for an agricultural challenge on Johnson. 12.57pm GMT 23 mins: Merstham finding their way now, and Hall fires in an acrobatic shot that Eastwood gets right behind. 12.55pm GMT 21 mins: A chance for Oxford at the other end, with Hemmings flicking the ball through for Taylor – his shot is hit with power, but Wilson makes an excellent near-post save! 12.54pm GMT 19 mins: From nowhere, a fantastic chance for Merstham! Addai tees up Bennett with a deep cross – via a smart dummy from Vidal. Bennett turns to send Eastwood the wrong way – but with the goal gaping, Aaron Martin gets back to make a crucial interception. 12.52pm GMT 17 mins: Bird could do with some of those Italian throat sweets; he’s shouting himself hoarse, urging his players to close down more quickly, with Oxford looking comfortable on the ball. 12.50pm GMT 15 mins: Ruffels goes down after colliding with Okoye in the area, and needs treatment. He’s able to continue, and the break also provides Merstham with some respite. After that opening goal, one young Oxford fan had a message for their former keeper:HOW COULD YOU 12.49pm GMT 13 mins: Noise levels haven’t dropped after that away goal – perhaps as the crowd is split evenly. Merstham only took half of the 2,000 tickets, worried they wouldn’t sell out. They were gone in 90 minutes. Oxford, in an impressive gesture, have given their share of the gate money to their opponents. 12.46pm GMT MacDonald stands over the free kick. and lifts an outswinger over the wall and into the far corner! Textbook stuff, and Oxford have a deserved lead. 12.46pm GMT 11 mins: Oxford are pinning Merstham back early on, and they win a free kick on the edge of the D as Vidal tracks back and hauls down his man. Presentable chance for the visitors. 12.43pm GMT 9 mins: A nervous moment for the home defence, as Marvin Johnson gets in behind right-back Michael Abnett, and fires a low cross right across Wilson’s goal. Hemmings is in space, but can’t quite connect. 12.42pm GMT 7 mins: Oxford win a free kick after Ledson’s cross is handled by Campbell. U’s captain Alex MacDonald takes it, but centre-back Okoye gets his head to the ball and clears it away. 12.40pm GMT 5 mins: A first break into the Merstham box from Oxford, with Hemmings hooking in a cross that Kavanagh deflects back to his goalkeeper. 12.37pm GMT 3 mins: Addai links with Vidal, who is playing centrally in behind Bennett – the false nine has made its way to Surrey. Plenty of intricate midfield play from both sides in the early stages. 12.35pm GMT 1 min: Merstham make an early foray down the left through left-back Kristian Campbell, but Aaron Martin is on hand to send the first of many clearances clean over the Moatside clubhouse. 12.34pm GMT John Brooks, assistant at last year’s Cup final, gets us under way. Merstham are in amber and black, Oxford in navy shirts and yellow shorts. 12.28pm GMT Ones to watchPenny may be out, but there’s plenty of attacking threat in the Merstham team: Dan Bennett, described by the Guardian’s own Michael Cox as “the non-league Mahrez” will look to create space for wingers Alex Addai and former Dulwich Hamlet trickster Xavier Vidal. In goal, PE teacher Phil Wilson will hope to put the hurt on his former club, who he supported growing up. 12.23pm GMT The man that got us here @CharliePenny_ getting interviewed live on @btsportfootball! #EmiratesFACup #moatsiders got the winner against Ebbsfleet in the final qualifying round, but is now out for the season with an ACL injury. As Barry Glendenning writes, it’s a tough road to recovery for footballers, but particularly part-timers like Penny – his injury means he can’t do his day job, fitting gas boilers. Related: Football’s invisibles: the long and lonely road from calamitous injury | Barry Glendenning 12.21pm GMT Here’s Michael Appleton: “It’s a game we’re looking forward to. if we can match Merstham off the ball, I hope we have the technical ability to finish the game off in the last 20 minutes. [On whether his weakened team is a gamble] Possibly, but the same sort of team have beaten Exeter and drawn with Swindon in the EFL Trophy.” 12.18pm GMT Merstham manager Hayden Bird has been speaking on BT Sport:“The team has been built to play football, it’s what we’re good at. You can get men behind the ball, or defend with the ball, which is what we’ll try and do today. We have a lot of pace… it’s a small pitch, but we can stretch the play.” 12.14pm GMT Merstham: Wilson, Michael Abnett, Antone Douglas, Okoye, Campbell, Bennett, Kavanagh, Samuels, Addai, Vidal, Hall.Subs: Hector, Hogan, Hopkinson, Henriques, Bailey-Allen, Smith, Folkes. Oxford Utd: Eastwood, Tyler Roberts, Martin, Dunkley, Johnson, Ruffels, Ledson, MacDonald, Sercombe, Hemmings, Taylor. Subs: Skarz, Lundstram, Nelson, Crowley, Maguire, Buchel, Rothwell. Referee: John Brooks (Leicestershire) 1.00am GMT Hello. Unless you’re a regular visitor to junction seven of the M25, or a helpless passenger on a Southern rail train, you might not have heard of Merstham. Even in a village of just 8,000 people, wedged between two motorways and Gatwick Airport, the local football team never looked likely to put the place on the map.Thirty years ago, when today’s visitors were League Cup holders, Merstham FC were fighting to stay afloat in the ninth-level Combined Counties League. Without major investment or development, this village team have risen to mid-table in the Ryman League Premier Division – their highest ever position in the football pyramid. Continue reading. . read full article

Source: TheGuardian

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