Kingsbury Longdon Tigers 1 Eton Manor 0

Sunday 17th August 2008
Kingsbury Longdon Tigers 1 Eton Manor 0
FA Cup sponsored by e.ON Extra Preliminary Round
At: Silver Jubilee Park, Townsend Lane
Kick-off: noon
Attendance: 108
Weather: warm and sunny, wind

Kingsbury London Tigers, playing their first-ever FA Cup tie, made a winning start thanks to Edson Cata's goal scored early in the second half.

Kingsbury "Fancy a trip to London to visit the British Museum?" was my suggestion and barely twelve hours after making it, we were on our way down the M6.

After dropping off the family at Hendon Central, I made it to the ground with plenty of time to spare. Initially parking in the car park off the lane that leads to the ground off from Townend Lane, I opted avoid possible queues getting away from the game so parked on the road instead. With another game to follow at Kentish Town, there was bound to be a groundhoppers invasion and I was correct!

At the ground entrance, I got chatting to the club official who was selling programmes (£1-50 and containg amonst other things some really good information about the club). He asked who I was going to support - "London Tigers, of course," was my reply even though I was a neutral. I told him Stafford when he asked where I came from and reply that Stafford is near Uttoxeter. Not looking like an follower of National Hunt racing, I went on to say he had been coaching at a college in Staffordshire and knew Stafford Rangers wore "black and white stripes like Newcastle". Programmes sold out 35 minutes before kick-off.

KingsburyI'd previously visited Townsend Lane around 18 years ago - 15th March 1990 to be precise when Kingsbury Town drew 0-0 with Woking. The pitch is orientated north-south and the entrance is near the south-east corner of the pitch. All the facilities are along the near touchline - large clubhouse, changing rooms and seated stand containing around 150 mainly yellow seats with black ones for officials. Behind the near goal is an area of covered standing set back, with two rows of terrrace steps next to the pitch barrier. Behind the far goal, at the bottom end, were two terrace steps running the width of the penalty area.

Kingsbury London Tigers are a relatively new club in their current form when Kingsbury Town FC and London Tigers decided to merge in 2006, with the Silver Jubilee Park as the venue for home first team games. They decided to enter the FA Cup for the first time this season and claim to be the first new entrant into the competition from West London for 100 or so years as well as the the first Asian team in west London to take part in the FA Cup.

The programme gave some background to the club and tie. KLT are a diverse club with over eight nationalities represented. "This is a proud moment for our players as they come from a disadvantaged background with no professional support," wrote the Chief Executive.

Teams were annouced over the tannoy and also pinned up in the clubhouse.

KingsburyKingsbury London Tigers went into the game in fourth place in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, having gained four points from their opening two games. In contrast, this tie was Eton Manor's first compeitive game of the season as they were yet to start their Essex Senior League campaign.

Before kick-off a minute silence was observed for a young player who recently died after celebrating a goal while playing in a recent tournament. The programme paid tribute to 18-year-old Daniel Craig.

Tigers kicked-off attacking up the slope towards the covered terrace into the wind. It was a lively start by both teams and after about 9 minutes a couple of fans (one in a blue shirt and the other in a khaki shirt) under the covered terrace started to sing and chant - "We love you Kingsbury, etc." and other songs as well. Eton created the best chances during the opening half hour. Junior Odasi-Ukueku volleyed over from 25 yards and Liam Allen had a shot cleared off the line in the 14th minute by Marcus Lansiquot who collided with a post in the process.

Singing continued through the half and Eton created another decent chance nine minutes before the interval. Allen took the ball forward to the edge of the area and he laid the ball off to Odasi-Ukueku who sent a left-foot shot curling wide.

KingsburyHalf-time came without a goal and I joined others inside the large function room inside the clubhouse for a tea from the tea bar and sandwiches from a buffet laid on by the club. Those without programmes were cheered to hear that extra copies were being printed off.

I resumed my seat in the stand for the second half and Tigers scored what proved to be the winner in the 49th minute. Skipper Joel Pardal crossed low from the right bye-line to the far post where Edson Cata fired home at close range. The celebrations showed how much the goal meant!

Tigers kept on the attack and Sirak Beyene sent a shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post, followed by the sound of "ooohhh!" from a few fans. Eton Manor found it difficult to create decent shhoting chances as Tigers threatened to score again. In the closing stages, Beyene broke clear down the right into the area but fired staright at the keeper. Stoppage time at the end was a nervous time for all connected with the home side - "how long, 10 minutes extra time?" as the full time whistle still didn't come. Deep into stoppage time, Eton Manor had one final chance and they went close toa dramatic late equaliser. Alinani Mountor's cross-cum-shot from the right hit the top of the bar with the keeper beaten. That came so close to forcing a replay.

The full-time whistle came after five minutes of stoppage time and, fom many, signalled the start of the exodus to watch the second part of an FA Cup 'double'.