Mildenhall Town 0 Sporting Bengal 2
by Sam Murley at Recreation Way
MILDENHALL Town manager Christian Appleford was left to bemoan his misfiring players after his side were dumped out of the FA Vase in a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Sporting Bengal on Saturday.
Town welcomed their London-based opponents to Recreation Way with high hopes of progressing to the final 64 of the competition, but after wasting a number of clear opportunities, Bengal struck with second-half goals from Javier Rivera and Vinnie Williams to ensure victory.
The home side’s miserable day was then compounded late on as defender Josh Turner was shown a dubious straight red card for a challenge on Sadik Ahmed.
“They were the worst side we have played in the competition, I don’t think they would be more than bottom two of our league,” fumed Appleford.
“We should have put the game to bed long before they opened the scoring, but we failed to take our chances.
“The players on the pitch were good enough to win the game, we couldn’t have asked for a better draw but we have not done what was needed.
“We had an attempt cleared off the line, we hit the bar with another so we should have been a long way out of sight before they even had an attempt on goal.
“We have lost the game because of poor finishing and bad decision-making in the final third.”
The hosts started brightly and created their first chance after just four minutes as Andrew Wood’s left-foot strike on the turn from inside the area was tipped on to the crossbar by Alfie Bhincat.
Wood then turned provider, releasing James McCabe into the box but the midfielder could only drill his low right-foot shot straight at the keeper.
And Mildenhall were almost made to rue their missed opportunities moments before the break as Sahed Ahmed’s header from John Donchue’s corner was desperately scrambled off the line by Alex Steed.
After the interval, and just as in the first half, the home side continued to fail to convert their chances with Owen Paynter the culprit in the 46th minute.
Following up from Wood’s parried shot, and with the goal at his mercy, Paynter somehow allowed keeper Bhincat to block, and hold on to his effort, when it seemed certain he would score.
Twenty minutes later, and against the run of the play, the inevitable happened as the visitors snatched the lead.
Rivera played a neat one-two with Prince Pipim and unlike the Mildenhall players before him, he made no mistake from an acute angle, cleverly flicking the ball with the outside of his right foot over the onrushing Josh Pope and into the far right corner.
With momentum behind them Bengal then extended their lead in the 77th minute as substitute Williams cut in from the right hand side before curling a 25-yard left foot shot beyond the reach of Pope into the top left corner.
Any chance of a Mildenhall revival were then ended with 10 minutes left as referee Artis dismissed Turner for an apparent dangerous challenge, leaving the hosts to end the tie with ten men as Bengal progressed through to the third round.
Mildenhall: Pope, Cooper, Turner, Paynter (Jagroop 77), Hefferon, Judge (Amoss 80), McCabe (Thomas 70), Steed, Wood, Holder, Harvey
Substitute not used: Armit
Free Press man of the match: David Cooper- Constant threat overlapping from right back and sent a number of dangerous crosses into the area.
n Mildenhall returned to winning ways on Tuesday night, progressing through their Cambs Invitation Cup Preliminary Round tie with a narrow 4-3 victory over Cambridge Regional College.
Goals from Owen Paynter, Andrew Wood and Steve Holder as well as an own goal, were enough to secure Town’s win.
Mildenhall will now turn their attentions back to Ridgeons League Premier Division action with Wivenhoe Town the visitors at Recreation Way tomorrow (3pm) before hosting Haverhill Rovers on Tuesday night (7.45pm).