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FA Cup: Sporting Bengal boss ‘gutted’ by exit

PUBLISHED: 14:40 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:40 08 August 2017

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi at the Mile End Stadium (pic: Tim Edwards).

Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi at the Mile End Stadium (pic: Tim Edwards).

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Sporting Bengal boss Imrul Gazi could not hide his disappointment after seeing his side bow out of this season’s FA Cup at the first hurdle.

The Essex Senior League side were left up against it after conceding three times in the first 25 minutes at Hadleigh United and eventually lost their extra preliminary round tie 3-2 in Suffolk.

And Gazi said: “We started off really poorly. Literally within 10-20 seconds of kick-off, our left-back has switched off and we’ve gone down to a silly goal.

“It has been crossed in, the keeper has knocked it onto the bar and they’ve followed it in.

“Within five minutes of that we’ve conceded a stupid penalty. Our keeper is in no man’s land and it’s a silly penalty to concede. “Just like Takeley away, we’ve gone 2-0 down in 10 minutes and we’re fighting an uphill task.

“Then they’ve scored again in the 25th minute so it looks like it’s going to be difficult but we’ve had a couple of opportunities. We just seem to be playing as individuals not a team, players weren’t listening to instructions, I just wanted half time to come. We are better than that first half.”

Oscar Mendes saw a shot saved before the break, while Mark Wheeler put a header wide after the restart.

Ashaan Siddik hit back just past the hour mark and newcomer Eaia Embalo headed a second to raise Bengal’s hopes.

Gazi added: “I needed to make some changes. We had one good opportunity before the end of the first half when Oscar was in, I would’ve expected him to finish that and if he scores that it gives us momentum going into the second half.

“But 3-0, to be honest, they have been by far the better team and have picked us off with sharp football, got around us into dangerous areas and deserved the scoreline.

“We got them in, gave them a bit of roasting, changed one or two things in terms of personnel.

“We brought Daryl (Noble) from right back into centre midfield which is his preferred position, Jack (Lamb-WIlson) pushed on a bit, and the second half was all us. We were by far the better team.

“We changed the style of football and tried to go a bit more direct with balls over the top into the channels and space and it worked for us. Rokib (Choudhury) came on and played right back in the second half and was exceptional, I don’t think he put a foot wrong, he had a very steady game.

“We managed to get a goal from Ashaan, a well-worked finish, and a second goal from the new boy Embalo who had just come on and did really well.

“I’m really pleased with him, he’s only young and did everything right when he came on, won us three free-kicks and scored a great header, the shortest guy on the pitch gets on the end of a set piece!

“We had a couple of very good chances in the last 10 minutes, Shiblu Miah had a chance to make it 3-3 and I’m gutted we’ve not taken anything from the game. Football is a game of two halves and it was a prime example.”

Despite their early exit, Gazi looked for the positives in the way his side rallied in the second half and hopes they can now build on that when they return to league action.

He said: “If you’re 3-0 down after 20 minutes you’re fighting a losing battle but we’ve fought back and got a bit of pride for ourselves.

“The players showed a lot of character to nearly nick something from the game.

“We expected a better performance and after what we did last year I was hoping to have a bit of a run. A club like ours, every bit of money helps and I’m absolutely gutted as that £1,500 would have gone a long way for our kitty, to say the least.

“It could’ve been a lot worse, we were 3-0 down after 20 minutes and other teams would have folded, it could have been six or seven, a hammering, but we’ve made it respectable in the end.

“I’m disappointed we’ve not nicked something from the game and taken them back to Mile End as I’m confident we would’ve given a better display and better account of ourselves at home.”

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