Gt Yarmouth Town FC 2003-2004
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Following the FA Cup from the Extra Preliminary Round at the Wellesley to the Final at Cardiff!

BBC TV cameras rolled into town this week and conducted interviews which were then seen on Saturday's 'Football Focus'. They brought the FA Cup with them and each interview was conducted beside the famous trophy.
Paul Tong:  "It's everybody's dream. The town's buzzing and everybody wants to play in the FA Cup which is tremendous. For a number of players that haven't been professionals, it's their dream."
FF: Are you expecting a larger crowd than normal?
Paul Tong: "Well, there's a rumour that Gary Lineker's going to be here so maybe he'll attract one or two! But no, it's tremendous."
Next we saw Paul "Pongo" Thompson interviewed at work in the hospital where he is a porter.
Pongo: "Everyone likes to play in the FA Cup, everyone likes to have a bit of the action and it would be nice to progress into a couple more rounds."
FF: Is this the crowning moment of your career?
Pongo: "It will probably be up there with it, yes. I've scored before in the FA Cup many times, got a good record in it. I'm putting money on me for first goalscorer at 7-2."
FF: You've had a look at the bookies odds?
Pongo(laughing): "No, I made that bit up! But I'll be looking to score in the first half hour, before ten to one, before this programme finishes."
The final interview was with Freddy Newby who played in the team that beat Crystal Palace 50 years ago. He said the then chairman offered each of the lads a 5 bonus if they won. We saw a photo of the team entering the pitch but Freddy wasn't on it; he explained that he was in the toilet at the time!
The kick-off was shown at a little after 12.30 along with about ten seconds of the following action with three cameras in attendance. As presenter Ray Stubbs moved on to other topics, clearly displayed on a screen behind him was the club's circle logo alongside a picture of the FA Cup itself.
After the match there was a report in Final Score from Dominic Callum in which Pongo was again interviewed briefly; all the goals were shown and the result with scorers names was shown in a caption box in the usual way.
Afterwards, Mark Lawrenson joked about Pongo's nickname, saying Ray Stubbs had thought he was going to have a stinker! Lawrenson also remarked that it was difficult for him to conceive that the FA Cup had actually started in August - enter the real world!
Only one camera this time, with no coverage on either Football Focus or Final Score. The cameraman said it was just for archive purposes. Just as well, as the team failed to do itself justice. A much more low-key affair.

1st qualifying round, Sat.13th September

Berkhamsted caught stage fright as they froze in front of BBCs Football Focus cameras. In just the second minute Chris Tracey appeared unmarked to tap in a free kick to give Sudbury the lead.

The turning point came midway through the first period when John Bishop was tripped by Simon Palmer for an inevitable penalty. But the experience of former Football League professional Dean Greygoose saw him keep out Ben Hammond's spot kick to preserve Sudbury's lead.

Andrew Claydon took advantage of a defensive mistake to add a second and the impetus was well and truly with the Ridgeons League champions.

In the second half Sudbury added five in only eleven minutes to well and truly put the tie beyond doubt. Gary Bennett grabbed the first of his eventual hat-trick in the 50th minute when he latched on to a clearance by Greygoose and cleverly turned his marker to shoot low past Wheeler.

Two minutes later a four-man build-up ended with Lee Norfolk forcing Bennett's cross home at the far post. The now rampant Sudbury made it five when Claydon squared the ball for Lee Francis to tap into an empty net and Bennett scored his second and Sudbury's sixth when he beat the offside trap to run on to Norfolk's long ball to easily beat Wheeler.

The best goal was the seventh, scored when Sam Banya came off the bench to run on to Bennett's pass and although his first shot was blocked he scored with an acrobatic overhead kick. Banya then set up Brendan Patrick to lob Wheeler before the demoralised home side conceded the ninth when Patrick dispossessed Mullands to square the ball to Bennett who completed his hat-trick to totally humiliate Berko.


2nd Qualifying Round, Sat. 30th Sept.

Two early goals sent AFC Sudbury well on their way to victory against Ryman Premier outfit Northwood. After just nine minutes, a ball deep into eh box saw David Head nip in and deflect the ball home. After 21 minutes veteran Gary Bennett fired past Bullivant after Chris Howlett had headed on.

The Woods began to press midway through the half but without testing Dean Greygoose.

When Michael Cheetham fired home to put Sudbury further ahead two minutes into the second half, it looked all over. Then Brian Fitzgerald replaced Danny Yeoman and he started a move which saw Dave Nolan chip Greygoose from 25 yards.

Suddenly the visitors found themselves under pressure as Woods found heart. Greygoose kept out free kicks from Sargent and Steve Hale while Nolan and Kieran Knight caused problems. Hale then missed a good chance, shooting weakly after being set up by skipper Chris Gell.

As time ran out, the Woods pushed further forward. It left them exposed at the back and Sudbury exploited this as Bennett set up Andrew Claydon to score from close range. Knight hit back with an excellent solo effort.


3rd Qualifying Round, Sat. 11th Oct.

AFC Sudbury and East Thurrock will have to do it all again on Tuesday night to decide which side will go through to the final qualifying round.

In a bruising battle at Rookery Hill that would have been given an x-rated certificate by the censors, Sudbury will be grateful to have a second chance against a side whose physical approach almost won them the game.

Sudbury tried mostly in vain to play football whilst East Thurrock simply tried to knock the Suffolk side out of their stride by fair means of foul, and then simply tried to get the ball forward in route 1 fashion as quickly as possible.

Sudbury did not cope very well in the first half and fell behind to a Paul Cobb goal in the 40th minute.

But David Head equalised in splendid fashion in the 59th minute and after that Sudbury had some narrow escapes and in the end will have been just relieved to get a second bite at the cherry.

AFC SUDBURY 1-1 E. THURROCK aet E Thurrock won on penalties

Replay: Tuesday 14th Oct.

Police, backed by a helicopter, were called to the FA Cup 3rd qualifying round replay between AFC Sudbury and East Thurrock when a group of 40-50 hooligans invaded the pitch.

The group, said to be West Ham followers, stormed onto the pitch after the Ryman Div. 1 (N) side had equalised midway through the second half. Perimeter advertising boards were damaged and Sudbury's vice-chairman Peter Scott was manhandled.

Sudbury called police and a Suffolk Police helicopter hovered above the ground for the rest of the game, which East Thurrock won 4-2 on penalties. Sudbury closed their clubhouse after the match.

A Sudbury official said: "We were told after the first game that East Thurrock would be bringing about 50 supporters. That number was doubled by West Ham fans. Thurrock have accepted responsibility for the damage."

4th qualifying round, Sat. 25th Oct.
Two goals in a minute left the teams to replay next Tuesday. Woking took the lead after 17 minutes when Davis Haule had the simple task of slotting home from six yards as United failed to deal with Raphael Nade's cross. But the home team struck within a minute: Keith Martin's deep cross hit the back post before going in off 'keeper Ashley Bayes.
Woking found it difficult to keep the ball in the strong wind and the Essex men did not let their illustrious opponents settle into a rhythm.
The second half was a scrappy affair before Chris Sharpling was upended in the box by United skipper Mick Stanbrook. However, Scott Canham's penalty kick was saved by 'keeper Mark Hardingham. Woking were under pressure in the last minutes and only a last-ditch tackle by Gary MacDonald kept them in the Cup.
Replay, Tues. 28th Oct.
A Steve Ferguson double saw Woking home to a first round proper meeting with former Jewson League club Histon who are so far unbeaten in all competitions.

1st round proper, Sat. 8th Nov.
Doc Martens Eastern Division side Histon's Cup adventure finally ended at Kingfield as the re-shuffled Cards recovered from the shock of going behind after just 69 seconds. Adrian Cambridge's stunning 25-yard free kick gave Histon a dream start to their first ever appearance in the first round proper, but it only served to kick start Woking who then dominated the rest of the first half. Ian Selley scored a double for the home side in the 23rd and 39th minutes and ex-Crystal Palace marksman Chris Sharpling capped a fine performance with the third in the last minute of the half.
For 20 minutes after their opener, Histon's goal led a charmed life, then Sellett scored with a thunderous volley which 'keeper Barber got a hand to but could only help into the net. Sharpling was tripped by Jamie Barker and up stepped Selley to convert the penalty, and on the stroke of half time Sharpling himself added the finishing touch to a great Raphael Nade run by sliding home Woking's third.
Histon caused Woking a few scares early in the second half but the Conference side rallied and eased home in a thoroughly professional manner to move into the second round for the first time since 1997.


2nd round proper, Sat. 6th Dec.

Dean Bennett stole the show for Kidderminster with a virtuoso performance as Harriers cruised into the hat for the third round. The front man proved too hot to handle for a Woking team who never got out of first gear against the Third Division strugglers.

Woking had lost just once at home this season but Harriers were unworried as they attacked their hosts and took the lead within five minutes. Midfielder Gadsby split the Cards defence with a neat pass and Bennett escaped the shackles of defender Sharp to smash a low shot into the far corner of the net.

Woking lost centre half Boardman to a hamstring strain but Nade had a shot charged down then turned Kidderminster full back Smith after a superb 30-yard run as they tried to fight back.

Woking started the second half in positive fashion but for all their toil rarely looked threatening. Harriers killed off the game on the break. Burtons superb through ball hit Woking defender Macdonald on the back of the leg. Bennett was first to react forcing Bevan into a fine diving save before calmly slotting home the rebound.

Midway through the half it was 3-0. Substitute Shilton burst free on the right before sending over a low centre, Bennett dummied the ball and Burton slammed home at the far post.

3rd round proper, Sat. 3rd Jan. 2004
Kidderminster Harriers 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers. Att: 6005
Replay, Tues. 13th Jan. 2004
Wolves 2-0 Kidderminster

4th Round Proper: Saturday 24th January
5th Round Proper: Saturday 14th February
6th Round Proper: Saturday 6th March