Harwich & Parkeston 0, Romford 2 - Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
A potential banana skin avoided, and the best part of £3,000 in prize money for Romford who advanced to the FA Cup First Qualifying Round with a comfortable win on a hot, sunny afternoon at Harwich. There was an expectation among the travelling Romford support that the home side would go at Romford all guns blazing after Boro's defeat at Basildon, but it was muted performance from Harwich who rarely threatened Harry Aldridge's goal, and the Romford back four - which was completely changed from midweek - comfortably dealt with what was thrown at them.
Harwich had the first attacking foray, and after just five minutes Jordon Heath burst into the Boro area before going to ground, however the referee ignored his claims for a spot-kick, after which it was Romford who looked more likely to break the deadlock, with first Philip Brown-Bampoe firing over the bar, and then Rashaad Ogun having a shot on the turn that went wide of the far post. Reece Tranter had a free-kick blocked after Jimmy Cox had been fouled and then a good run by Brown-Bampoe set up Adeniyi Gbolahan, whose effort was blocked for a corner.
Romford's nerves were steadied on eighteen minutes when a low ball in from the right was turned home by Rashaad Ogun for his first goal for the club, and he might have added to his tally when he took advantage of hesitant defending, but could only steer his shot into the side netting.
Harwich hit back, and Sam Cripps cut in from the right, but was denied by Aldridge. Then it was Romford creating chances, with Felgate in the home goal having to react smartly to smother a low cross by Jonathon Nzengo, and then having to block a shot from Gbolahan. The ball fell to Malaki Toussaint, but his shot cleared the crossbar.
Romford were exploiting space on the right flank, and it was from there that the second goal came, four minutes before the interval, when Ogun's low cross was diverted into his own goal by the unfortunate Michael Murray.
It was mostly one-way traffic in the second half, with Romford coming close to adding to their tally on a number of occasions. Reece Tranter had two efforts on target, the first deflected for a corner, and the second comfortably saved by Felgate, while shortly after, Gbolahan ran on to a delightful through ball, but narrowly failed to avoid the offside trap.
Harry Aldridge was called into a rare piece of action when he saved well at the feet of Cripps, but Boro were quickly on the attack again, and a strong run and cross by Giovanni Palmer was just too far ahead of Jimmy Cox after 72 minutes, and three minutes later, Cox headed Tranter's corner narrowly over the crossbar.
A rare foray into the Romford area saw Cripps shoot narrowly wide, but the final chance of the afternoon fell to Ogun, when he was put through by Billy Stewart, but was denied by the advancing Harwich keeper.
It doesn't do to get carried away after a win over a side two step below Boro, and one that have one just one game - in the previous round of the FA Cup, at Ilford - so far this season, but there were positive signs in this performance that put the Boro fans in good spirits.
Romford: Harry Aldridge, Jonathon Nzengo, Giovanni Palmer, Danny Nesbitt, Derek Ohalem, Philip Brown-Bampoe (Billy Stewart, 86m), Malaki Toussaint, Reece Tranter, Jimmy Cox (Joshua Samuels, 86m), Rashaad Ogun, Adenyii Gbolahan (Jaydon Charles, 68m). Subs not used: Louis Hiobi, Dhilan Thandi, Keiron Owusu, Jack Riddell.