Sporting Bengal leave it late in FA Vase
- Credit: Archant
Sporting Bengal 2 Stowmarket Town 1 (aet); Takeley 7 Tower Hamlets 2
Sporting Bengal left it late to book their place in the next round of the FA Vase at Mile End Stadium.
But neighbours Tower Hamlets were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition by Essex Senior League rivals Takeley after conceding seven times.
Knocked out of the FA Cup by Kings Langley a week earlier and held to a 2-2 draw by league rivals London Bari in midweek, Imrul Gazi’s Sporting Bengal looked set for another disappointing day after they fell behind against Eastern Counties League side Stowmarket.
Ben Licence was brought down in the box and Thomas Bradlaugh kept his nerve to convert the spot-kick and give the visitors the lead.
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But Sporting got back on level terms with a penalty of their own with just three minutes remaining through Shiblu Miah, who sent the visiting goalkeeper the wrong way to claim his third goal in three games and force extra time.
And they then ensured a replay in Suffolk would not be needed as they clinched victory with only two minutes left on the clock when Ashaan Siddik netted at the second attempt, after his first effort was saved.
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Delighted boss Gazi said: “The boys had to dig deep and grind out the result. Being a goal down isn’t ideal at any level of the game, but I’m proud at the way my team refused to bow their heads.”
Sporting’s reward for their win is another home tie against league rivals Sawbridgeworth Town on September 24 and as fate would have it they face a dress rehearsal in their next match on Wednesday.
Tower Hamlets were left with a mountain to climb after conceding five times in the first half of their match at Station Road.
And although the second-half honours finished even at two goals apiece, that was little consolation for Ade Abayomi’s side as they crashed out.
Charlie Cole hit a hat-trick for the home side, with Reece Barrett adding a brace as Jason Todd and George Wappett also found the net.
Hamlets have little time to lick their wounds as they are back in Essex Senior League action on Tuesday – when they visit Takeley again!
Their home fixture against Ilford on September 24, meanwhile, has been postponed as the Foxes will now be in FA Vase second qualifying round action at Burnham that day.