Ah! Fa Cup magic is all around us here at the Green Elephants Stadium.
It’s a very welcome break from the grind of picking up Ryman Premier League points.
Today’s story starts on Monday 5th September when a ‘lengthy’ 2nd qualifying round draw had Hill fans and perhaps the management diving for an atlas of Great Britain. The beauty of an FA Cup draw is that you never know what you are going to get.
When Kempston Rovers (The Walnut Boys) away came out the first question was, where is that, 2nd question what league are they in. It soon became apparent the BHTFC were in for a long day and a tough experience on the field !
Our well appointed team coach left at 10.30 bound for Bedford. A longish trip at the best of times but in heavy Saturday morning traffic it turned into a slog. The mood on board was one of controlled excitement but you could feel that everyone was ‘up for the cup’. We eventually pulled in to Hillgrounds Leisure stadium at 2pm (many thanks to our driver Mr Rattle a cousin of our General Manager for very comfortable and safe passage). While the players and management dived into the changing rooms my mate Bryan and I decided to have a little walk into town. Not a lot to report on that but we did have a naughty fish and chips take away on the hoof (mushy peas a triumph)
Many thanks to our hosts for a lovely day out. Rovers are a very friendly club and went out of their way to make us all feel very welcome. Nice ground and warm clubhouse. Bryan and I took advantage of the ale and spent all the game on their decking of woe. The clubhouse patio proved to be a very good place to watch the action unfold. We send best regards to their players, management officials and most importantly to any Walnut fans who will make that long journey to be with on Tuesday. We hope you enjoy the Green Elephant experience (but not to much if you catch my drift !)
On the field a real battle ensued and for most of the game it did appear that Hills FA cup adventure was going to be short-lived! Hillians made a breezy start our hosts seemed very happy to soak up the pressure and then try to counter attack. It was all very pleasing on the eye and on the half hour mark I was confident that a visitors goal was coming. This is where I owe Mr Chapman an apology I tweeted ‘after 35 its still nil nil but Hill in charge I predict super Pat for the opening goal’. Yep you guessed it, two mins later Rovers piled down the right and from the resulting cross their big centre forward slammed home one nil. (The commentator’s kiss of death)
There were a few worried looking Hill fans at half time I can tell you confidence had taken a slight knock.
The second half was far less entertaining the action seemed to be contained to the half way line. Lots of ‘determined’ tackles went in as the hosts looked destined to hang on for what would of been a giant killing. Dan Pearse was subbed after a fracas and resulting yellow card and on came man of the moment, Chris Smith. With time running out Smudger turned on s sixpence in the box and from 6 yards fired a glorious right foot shot into the roof of the net. Que relieved celebrations from every Hill connection in that ground.
The coach trip home was one of relieved but controlled celebration everyone on the bus knew we had got out of jail. Chris was the hero the players sang his name loudly and gave him a guard of honour as he left the coach. Which all leads us nicely back to Tuesday evening.
It can be reported that Rovers are flying playing with a lot of confidence mixing long balls with pacey wing play. They wont be here just to make up the numbers. Chappers and his team will need to be at their very best to progress!
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