Maldon & Tiptree off to an 'ideal start' with FA Cup win against Shefford

By Lee Witney

9th Aug 2023 | Football

Striker Samuel Ayoola scored the second goal to secure the win for the Jammers. (Photo: Roy Warner)
Striker Samuel Ayoola scored the second goal to secure the win for the Jammers. (Photo: Roy Warner)

Get your tin foil trophies out and iron your Sunday best, the Emirates FA Cup is back and Maldon & Tiptree got their season off to an ideal start by progressing to the Preliminary Round with a 2-0 win away to Shefford Town & Campton on Saturday.

There were three competitive debuts from the start in the shape of Alex Moss, Adam Topley and Alex Clark for Maldon, plus a second debut for goalkeeper Tom Middlehurst as the Jammers looked to avoid a banana skin in Bedfordshire.

There was also a temporary change in the dugout, with Liam Bailey taking charge in place of Peter Taylor who had kindly contributed some money to the FA's Swear Jar in preseason.

The hosts set about trying to unnerve Maldon early on, with Middlehurst called into action in the opening minute to claim a low cross into the box.

It was Maldon with the first real chance of note six minutes in when Louie Remi cut in from the right and curled a left footed shot low into the far corner which was well parried away by Shefford keeper Reece Lewis.

Both sides were struggling to gain a foothold in the game and as a result, there were chances and half chances aplenty.

With 10 minutes gone, Lewis Jaggs played a corner deep to the back post and found captain Michael Finneran, but he couldn't connect. At the other end, Finners blocked a goal bound effort from Scott Metcalfe.

George Smith looked to have given Maldon the lead after 22 minutes, getting between two defenders before dinking an effort over Lewis only for a Shefford man to get back and clear the ball off the line.

Shefford nearly took the lead on the half hour mark when a Metcalfe free kick from about 35 yards out missed everyone in the box and just grazed the post on its way out for a goal kick.

Five minutes later, Metcalfe had another chance on goal after being played in by Dimagio Robinson but a combination of poor finishing and the Assistant's flag denied him an opener as he blazed over from close range.

With half time approaching, it was Maldon's turn to threaten the scoresheet. Terrell Egbri capitalised on a poor touch from Dan Hammer to intercept and put Clark through one on one. Unfortunately for the Jammers' man, his shot was well saved by Lewis who managed to hold on too.

The second half started in a similarly disjointed manner to the first, but 10 minutes in, Clark nearly broke away only to be denied by a great challenge from the recovering Charlie Milton.

With an hour gone, Andre Hassanally replaced Remi for his second Jammers debut and nearly made an immediate impact, shooting just wide from the edge of the box after good work by Smith.

The Jammers thought they had the lead with 20 minutes left when Clark rifled home after being played in by Egbri, but the Assistant's flag cut the celebrations short.

Less than a minute later, we did have the lead. For real this time. Andre and George linked up well on the edge of the box and it was Smith who produced a lovely first time finish to convert Hasanally's pass to make it 1-0 Maldon.

Smith nearly had a second with 10 minutes left, but couldn't quite reach Egbri's inviting cross to turn it home. Shades of Gazza at Euro 96.

As the game reached additional time, the old adage of "who'd be a goalkeeper" came to pass. Having been solid all afternoon, Lewis had the ball at his feet with Sam Ayoola closing him down. The Shefford man went to clear his lines only for the ball to cannon off Ayoola and roll into an empty net to wrap up the win for the Jammers.

Next up, is the start of the League season at home to Felixstowe & Walton United on Saturday 12 August. I know how much you've all missed the ground announcer over the summer break!

We have a home game against Grays on Bank Holiday Monday, 28 August, where we will be holding another food bank collection. Please come along and be as generous as you can be.

Take a look at what Tony Williams, Chair of the Jammers Fans Association, had to say during the club's foodbank collection last summer:


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