the real fa cup

Not So Sporting Bengal

Sporting Bengal United 1 Cockfosters 3

“We’re 82 for 4. I’m in next,” is a strange thing to hear at a football match. But as the gate that divides Cockfosters’ Chalk Lane and its neighbouring cricket pitch parts and a bloke in his whites edges through it, this is precisely what I do hear. Flanked by not one but two cricket pitches and a bowling green, Chalk Lane is like an ultra-English, mini Olympic Park. With crapper seats. And cheaper burgers. And you can sneak in for free, of course.


Moved from Sporting Bengal United’s Mile End home due to London 2012, this feels a long way from the Olympic guff happening down the road. Bengal, a league above Cockfosters, show their class early on, taking the lead through Shaheen Ahmed’s jinking solo effort. But in a mad few minutes, the tables turn completely. Bengal’s confidence on the ball sees them relax while Cockfosters determined, more physical approach drags them back into the game.


Cockfosters’ Dean Barker whips in a free kick past Bengal’s keeper (oddly, the smallest player on the pitch) to equalize before a close range finish from Lorenzo Ferrari completes the turnaround. Then comes the moment which ends the game as a contest. Play is stopped by the touchline for nothing obvious. The ref has a word with the linesman and produces a red card for Ahmed, Bengal’s most dangerous player and captain.

As the players trudge off at half-time, word has it that Ahmed called the female linesman a “prick”. The 2nd half begins and a Cockfosters fan advises her not to take any nonsense. She makes a brushing motion on her shoulders to suggest it’s not a problem. Another strange thing to hear at a football match; chivalry towards officials. The rest of the match is a niggly affair, broken only by Edmon Protain’s low finish for Cockfosters. A dramatic game ends, but it’s hard not to leave with a lingering feeling that things might have been different had she been a he.


1 Comment
  1. Blimey, is that where Emond Protain is these days? He played for Yeading against Newcastle United, in the 3rd round of the Cup.

    It will be our (Harrow Borough’s) turn soon: tough draw against our former manager and the players who followed him to St. Albans.

    Au revoir

Leave a Reply

Non League Day
Bobby Robson Foundation