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Saturday's local football round-up: Stowmarket Town, Ely City and Halstead Town through in the FA Cup while Newmarket Town and Long Melford get a second chance




There was not much magic in this afternoon's opening Saturday of the Emirates FA Cup for local sides, with Stowmarket Town, Ely City and Halstead Town providing the notable exceptions.

All three clubs enjoyed away tie victories to ensure they, along with Framlingham Town who dispatched of higher-league Hackney Wick 3-1 at home on Friday night (Ransome, Smith, Thorpe), netted the £2,250 prize money available to the winners' of extra preliminary round ties.

For Ely City's Brady Stone their 2-1 victory at Potton United will live long in his memory as it was his first ever victory in the FA Cup, and a first in a long time for Ely, as he took over the Robins in 2014.

And it is likely to be the same for striker Steve Holder, as he scored both goals, in the 30th minute and a penalty in the 61st minute after a 35-yard wind-assisted free kick had levelled matters for the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division side.

It was a much more comfortable passage through for Stowmarket Town as they won 6-0 at equivalent level Clapton on Aveley's 3G pitch.

Josh Mayhew helped himself to a hat-trick while new signing Christy Finch, from Leiston, scored twice and fellow new-boy Joe Jefford got the other.

It sets up a tie at BetVictor Isthmian League Premier Division Cheshunt - two steps higher in the pyramid after promotion last season - in two weeks' time in the preliminary round.

Halstead Town built upon their 5-1 win at Brightlingsea Regent Reserves on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory at higher-league Sawbridgeworth Town in Hertfordshire in their first FA Cup tie in three years.

After falling behind, Mark McLean's men got back on level terms through a Lewis Cook free kick before a great solo effort from Kane Munday on the stroke of half-time saw them take the lead. The winner then came from Callum Vincent.

Newmarket Town still have a chance of matching their first qualifying round run of last year after coming from 2-0 down at home to recently relegated Arlesey Town to draw 2-2 and set up a Tuesday replay in Befordshire.

After conceding twice in the opening 10 minutes, The Jockeys pressure eventually paid dividends in the second half as a penalty from Jack Watson got them back in touching distance before Joe Robinson converted Michael Shinn's cross inside the last 15 minutes.

Long Melford have goalkeeper Ben Devlin to thank for helping them to earn a home replay with Southend Manor, following a goalless draw where he made several key saves. It is likely the club will host the match on their usual midweek night of Wednesday.

Haverhill Rovers enjoyed a great run last season in the competition which had started with a home derby win over Haverhill Borough broadcast live on BBC I-Player.

But this time around they fell spectacularly at the first hurdle in front of their own fans with Colney Heath running out 6-1 winners. New signing Kieran Michaels struck a late consolation goal, at 6-0 down.

Walsham-le-Willows will have to wait another year to attempt to break their FA Cup hoodoo - having not won in the competition for eight successive seasons now, following a 2-1 home loss to United Counties League Premier Division side Peterborough Northern Star.

The Cambridgeshire visitors took a third-minute lead through Craig Smith's low finish but former Debenham LC striker Craig Jennings levelled 10 minutes later after bundling home a Sam Peters cross at the near post for his first for the club.

But six minutes after the break Ewan Fieldhouse got in behind on the edge of the box and cooly placed a shot under Steve Fenner.

Walsham had an Ian Miller goal controversially ruled out for offside, a penalty from Craig Nurse saved and a Cameron Nicholls added time cross-cum-shot come back off the post as they pushed hard for a deserved equaliser, to no avail.

Among the favourites for the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division title following relegation from Step 4, Mildenhall Town crashed out of the cup 4-1 at Biggleswade, while Hadleigh United lost 2-0 at home to London Colney to seal their swift exit.

There was heartbreak for the travelling Needham Market supporters at Stratford Town as their BetVictor Southern Premier Central campaign got off to a losing start with a 2-1 defeat only sealed via a goal in stoppage time.

It had looked like Richard Wilkins' men were on for a solid point on their travels after Joe Marsden had continued his good record from the penalty spot by tucking away from 12 yards in the 89th minute to level things up.

They will hope to get the disappointment quickly out of their systems when Hitchin Town visit Bloomfields on Tuesday night, having beaten the same side at the same venue and stage of last season 8-1.

Down in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, Dave Childs' Cornard United bounced back from their 7-0 opening day defeat to Mulbarton Wanderers with a point from a 1-1 home draw with King's Lynn Town Reserves.

Meanwhile, Kevin Horlock's Needham Market Reserves made it two wins from two with a 3-2 home success against Haverhill Borough while Debenham LC took a point from a 1-1 home draw with newly-promoted Sheringham thanks to Will Seccombe's goal. It means the Hornets have now won one, drew one and lost one in their opening three fixtures of 2019/20.

* Vote for your Team of The Weekend on our Twitter poll (@russclaydon) on Monday morning

* For reaction to the upcoming midweek matches, as well as previews to the weekend ahead, see next week's papers



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