Kentish Town 1 Wellingborough Town 1

Sunday 17th August 2008
Kentish Town 1 Wellingborough Town 1
FA Cup sponsored by e.ON Extra Preliminary Round
At: Copthall Stadium
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 179
Weather: warm and sunny, blustery wind

Following on from this lunchtime's game at Kingsbury, this was part two of an amazing Sunday FA Cup 'double' and Kentish Town's first-ever game in the FA Cup.

It took about 15 minutes to get from Kingsbury to the Copthall Stadium, helped by brown signs from the A41/A1 junction. The venue is an athletics stadium with large stand on one side and open seating on the opposite side.

There were various places near the stadium and the spectator entrance was through the reception. In there, admission including ONE programme was £4. Through reception was 'CAFE COPTHALL' which was in full swing serving hot and cold food and refreshments. Teamsheets were made available inside the cafe and teams were also read out over the tannoy.

Kentish Town FC was founded in 1994 when teenagers from across Camden and Islington were brought together. When the first players became too old (presumably for youth football), founder Frank Zanre created 'a fully functioning team whihc has worked itself through the divisions'. The club joined the Spartan South Midlands League Division 2 in 2003 and last season won Division 1 to earn a place in the Premier Division for the first time in 2008/09.

The reason for the Sunday date was quite straightforward I think. Yesterday the stadium was used for British Athletic League Division 1 fixture with Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers (who have their base at the Copthall) being one of the clubs taking part.

"I am very proud that our club will be playing its first FA Cup match and that we have been drawn at home," wrote the Chairman in the matchday programme. "I feel great pride in this fact. It was always a dream for the club to reach this stage and we are finally here." And the fact that Kentish Town earned a replay, with a late equaliser, will no doubt have made the Chirman even prouder.

The teams came out together in true fair play tradition. Line-ups were announced over the tannoy with cheers when the names of the Kentish players read out. With a good following for the visitors, the Wellingborough players got equivalent cheers when their names were read out.

I took a seat in the main stand and saw Wellingborough get the game underway attacking from right to left. With the Wellingborough drummer and chanting from some visiting fans as well, there certainly was a good sound emanating from the stand.

After 8 minutes, Tom O'Brien got into a good position inside the area and fired straight at the keeper. "Wellingborough, we are in a match here, let's win it," was the cry from one platyers to his teammates. O'Brien tried to chip the advancing keeper who raised his arms to claim the ball.

Wellingborough arguably made the better start and took the lead in the 32nd minute with a goal out of nothing. Daren Frost hit an inch perfect shot from a narrow angle on th eright-hand side of the area which looped over the keeper into the opposite side of the net.

Kentish Town responded with their first real sustained spell of pressure. They won three corner in quick succession and Karim Essigaguie volley over after the third one wasn't cleared. I was sat near the Wellingborough fans and I scenced there were a little nervous. "We don't wasnt to invite them back into the game," was one comment. "If we give them enough options then they'll take one," was another.

As the interval approached, a 30-yard shot from Paul Butler flashed past the Wellingborough goal and Aaron Hutchins headed just wide. As they players came off, I couldn't hear what the home fans had to say but "well done lads" was the Wellingborough verdict.

I changed positions for the second half and moved into the area of the stand occupied by home fans. Kentish Town made a positive start to the second half and, just like the end of the first half, were creating the bulk of the chances. On the hour, Matt Finlay punched out a free-kick from Butler at the expense of a corner. Time ticked on without an equaliser. Jonathan Donogue glanced a header across the face of goal. No one got on the end of Sarfraz Pivano's dangerous cross. The visitors got forward and won a couple of corners. "we want Dan" chanted the WAGs - presumably they wanted number 17 to come on?

Eventually the equaliser came in the 87th minute. Javier Rivera netted with a near post glancing header from Pivano's corner. Cue huge cheers, cue huge celebrations. Five minutes of injury time failed to produce a winner though Kentish Town appealled for a penalty just 13 seconds before the final whistle.

The full time whistle brought cheers and applause from the Kentish Town fans and Wellingborough man banged his drum. Replay on Tuesday at the Dog and Duck.