ROMFORD 3 (2) - (1) 2 Baldock Town Attendance 98 - Rookery Hill
By Gary Redwin
Romford sneaked victory with a last minute penalty to move into the next round of the FA Cup.
On a horrible wet and windy Sunday afternoon Romford hosted Spartan South Midlands League side Baldock Town in the FA Cup preliminary round. Boro captain Danny COSSINGTON nearly got the hosts off to a flyer but his header from a corner rattled against the crossbar in the fourth minute. Romford were camped in the visitors half but with their first venture forward Baldock opened the scoring when Kim Forsythe raced onto a long ball forward and shot low into the back of the net via the far post, in the twelfth minute. Romford got back on level terms six minutes later when Rodney LEMBA won the ball and raced clear but was fouled right on the edge of the box. Kurt SMITH stepped up and smashed the free kick left footed into the top corner of the net. With the wind at their backs Romford were dominant but could not find the second goal their play deserved with Lemba firing over the bar when through and Ernest OKOH shooting wide of the near post when cutting in from the left. Baldock nearly sneaked a surprise second when a free kick was missed by Boro keeper Rhys HUGHES but Nick REYNOLDS was on hand to clear the ball off the line. Smith fired another free kick inches wide from thirty-five yards before he grabbed his and Romford's second just before half time. Greg AKPELE beat two men and then had his ankle clipped allowing Smith to rifle the penalty home.
Romford could have scored twice in the opening two minutes of the second half when Daniel JONES was unable to get on the end of a dropped cross and Lemba had a shot saved after Akpele did well down the left. Baldock should have equalised when Harry Holland had a free header but the minute striker's effort went well wide and then he was lucky to remain on the pitch after lashing out at a Romford defender but the incident was missed by the officials. Romford were pretty poor for the rest of the second half and Baldock did grab an equaliser when Liam Kenna turned in a cross just after the hour. Neither team now seemed able to create any further chances and just as the match looked to be heading to a replay the Baldock full back was perhaps a little harshly adjudged to have fouled Akpele, again in the box. As Smith had earlier been substituted after picking up an injury, Lemba stepped up to hit the penalty low past the keeper.
Victory will give Romford valuable prize money and Tuesday's draw for the next round will be eagerly awaited by the Boro faithful.
ROMFORD (2) 3 Kurt SMITH 18, 41 (PEN), LEMBA 90 (PEN)
BALDOCK TOWN (1) 2 FORSYTH 12, KENNA 62
ROMFORD: Rhys HUGHES, JONATHAN NZRNGO, Kurt SMITH (Nathan JOSEPH 61), Nick REYNOLDS, George FORREST, Danny COSSINGTON, Chris TAYLOR, Ernest OKOH (Taylor TOMBIDES 80), Rodney LEMBA, Daniel JONES (Max BOLTON 69), Greg AKPELE SUBS NOT USED STEPHEN REYNOLDS, NATHAN OKOYE, TOBY BARLOW & HARRY PRINCE