the real fa cup

The Adventure Begins

Dulwich Hamlet 1 Broxbourne Borough 1
Attendance 164
Price £8

First up, the mighty Dulwich Hamlet. The Hamlet have reached what the non-league sides call ‘The Propers’, the Cup’s mid-stage dreamland when the league teams come in, more than a dozen times so the romance potential here was high.

Broxbourne, to me, was just some commuter destination out of Liverpool Street and after this tie was likely to return to the ‘burbs with their tails between their legs.

Before this game someone had died and there was the traditional minute’s silence. Unfortunately, no one had informed the bar manager and as the ref started the silence the bar was still blasting out Fatboy Slim.

I don’t remember a great deal about this game except that Dulwich played them off the park and wasted chance after chance. Then, as is so often the case in such situations, they shot themselves in the foot. A comedic defensive cock up with 2 minutes left let Broxbourne in for an undeserved draw. Not much romance here, a lower league team getting an unlikely draw was good but the crowd were fewer and quieter than I’d seen here before.

Broxbourne 1 Dulwich Hamlet 2
Attendance 96
Price £6

Less a ground, more a field. As a game, this panned out much the same as the first, consistent Dulwich pressure with chances going begging. However, inside quarter of an hour it really kicked off. A Brox defender scythed down a Dulwich player, a scuffle ensued and both got their marching orders. Then, with 9 minutes left, dejavu. 1-1.

Dulwich did snatch a late win but, despite doing so, their keeper bizarrely tried to assault the ref and got sent off – then the manager came close to doing the same. Dulwich had won and still they were angry. No one likes to see this sort of thing at football, heh, yeah right. The FA Cup was here and it meant something.

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Non League Day
Bobby Robson Foundation