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HALSTEAD TOWN v ROMFORD

Saturday 5th August - Kick Off 3.00pm In stark contrast to last years FA Cup fixture at Leverstock Green where the temperature was at least 30c, the pitch bone hard and yellow and the players had to stop for a drinks break, this years pre preliminary round fixture was played in a chilly 14c and pouring rain. Essex Senior league rivals Romford were todays opposition and they had brought a strong contingent of supporters with them. It was a very sad day for Halstead Town as former Chairman and Life President Michael Gage passed away earlier in the week.The club held a minutes silence in his memory before the match which was impeccably observed and the club officials wore black armbands as a mark of respect. It is worth noting that Halstead’s most successful era on the pitch was while Mr Gage was chairman when they won both the Eastern Counties League Premier Division and the Cup and also played Dagenham in a FA Cup qualifier, which was by far the highest profile match played at Rosemary Lane. (Michael is pictured on the left wearing the blue trousers) As the weather was pretty wet and miserable I decided I would take photo’s from the dry and comfort of the stand, but I really wasn’t overwhelmed with the results, so when it eased off I did get closer to the goalmouth for 10 minutes or so, before the rain came down again. I was wearing waterproofs and wasn’t too concerned about getting wet, but the camera equipment was getting rather wet, so I retreated back to the stand. As for the match. Halstead had got off to an unbeaten start to the season and were looking to improve on last seasons poor showing in all cup competitions, but soon fell behind to a well taken Romford goal after only 2 minutes, which really wasn’t the start they were looking for. To their credit they regrouped and took the game to Romford and in difficult conditions played some good football and were unlucky not to equalise when Matt Travel had the ball in the net, which was ruled out for a foul. They also hit the post and had another effort cleared off the line and then on the stroke of half time Romford somewhat undeservedly doubled their lead to go in 2 up. This really did put a dampener on what was already a miserable afternoon. Half Time Halstead 0 - 2 Romford Halstead came out for the second half looking to get back into the game, but fell further behind when Romford scored a 3rd and that really put the game to bed. It would be fair to say that Halstead heads dropped and it was no surprise when Romford added a 4th with a 25 yard screamer which was by far the best goal of the game. 4 goals down and with little to pay for, the rain cleared up and surprise, surprise the sun came out. Halstead did pull a goal back with a Kane Gilbert penalty, but it was little more than a consolation. Halstead can feel a little aggrieved to have lost by such a comprehensive scoreline, which did somewhat flatter the visitors as Halstead did play some good football, especially in the first half. Taking their chances was the difference between the two teams and it is Romford who have progressed to the 1st preliminary round. FA Cup - Pre Preliminary Round Milbank Stadium, Rosemary Lane, Halstead Halstead Town 1 - 4 Romford Admission - £7 (£3 concessions) Programme - £1.00 Cheeseburger & Tea - £5.00 Att (not announced)

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