the real fa cup

“Well Done Beany”

Tomasz Mortimer goes back to his roots for The Real FA Cup.

It’s always nice to watch a game where people you know are involved, and that was exactly the case for me on Saturday as I made the short drive to Grange Park to watch Long Eaton United .v. Huntingdon Town.

As a young scamp I actually used to play for Long Eaton, so it was good to go down there after a few years away and, as soon as I got there, I was greeted by my former manager who had now become Chairman, taking his Dad’s role after he sadly passed away in 2008.

Nothing had really changed in the time I had been away and the two stands had exactly the same adverts on as when I had left the club in 2006.

As the teams came out on the tunnel to do their customary fair-play handshakes I was quite taken aback by how young the players were for each side, with the oldest player not being much over 22.

I then recognised a couple of familiar faces for Long Eaton. One was a tall, speedy striker who I played against from the age of about 10 till about 13 before he was picked up by Forest academy. Another was a pacey, tricky winger who was once of Walsall. I was looking forward to seeing how they both fared at 10th tier standard football.

The crowd was probably better than I expected with about 150 fans making it to the game – 20 of those making the trip from Cambridgeshire. Not bad on a day when Derby County and Nottingham Forest were both at home.

Long Eaton started off the better of the two sides and should have been ahead after some good play on the wing by the former Walsall man resulted in a terrific chance being squandered by United’s number 9.

The Huntingdon fans were very vocal with one fan reminding me of one of them pushy father’s that you used to get at kids football. Contesting every single decision, and telling the Huntingdon players what to do. The Town manager must have felt that he didn’t need to be there with that loudmouth on the side-line.

The first half wasn’t a great spectacle, but it wasn’t helped by the horrendous pitch that the teams were attempting to play on.

One thing that did strike me was how bad the ex-Forest player, Theo Ganderson, was. When I had played against him in the past, his pace and quick feet were just too much to deal with, but on Saturday everything he did failed. He couldn’t even control the ball, he was exceptionally poor.

As the half started to peter out, Huntingdon shocked the crowd and grabbed the first goal of the game to send the Huntingdon fans into raptures (and boy did they celebrate it).

1-0 at the half, completely against the run of play. Time for a Bovril and a burger.

The second half started as the first finished with Huntingdon again surprising everyone by doubling their lead after a poor bit of a goalkeeping. The roar from the Town fans was terrifying and lead to me spilling a whole cup of Bovril down myself. I was scalded, wet and bloody unhappy.

Long Eaton again tried to press, but found themselves up against an inspired goalkeeper who went by the name of ‘Beany’ (I know that because every time he touched the ball the fans shouted “Well done Beany” – It got incredibly annoying).

Huntingdon then grabbed two goals before the end – either side of a penalty miss from Long Eaton – to send United crashing out of the FA Cup, completely undeservedly.

Bean Bag and his teammates were greeted like heroes as they walked off the pitch by their very dapper looking Chairman and irritating fans. The Long Eaton boys trudged off to polite applause by their much more discreet supporters.

Even though it was a disappointing result for Long Eaton, one that I didn’t take very well, it was a superb day out and if it wasn’t for that bloody Bean Bag in goal, it could have been a whole lot better.

Long Eaton United 0 – 4 Huntingdon Town – FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Tomasz is editor of Hungarian Football, you can follow him on Twitter at HungariaFootbal

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