First Team
Sat 10 Feb 2024
Hilltop FC
Romford Football Club
First Team
A SIDDIK (45'), C MORRIS (51'), (76')
History Makers!

History Makers!

Bob Knightley10 Feb - 22:12
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Boro into Vase Quarter Finals for first time

Hilltop (1) 1, Romford (1) 3 – Isuzu FA Vase 5th Round – Saturday 10th February 2024
Charlie Morris scored twice to add to Ash Siddik’s opener as Dan Spinks’s men made it safely through to the last eight of the FA Vase for the first time in the club’s history.

In what must be a first, kick-off was delayed by fifteen minutes due to the late arrival of the home team at the ground at Cobham that they had hired in order to play on their favoured artificial surface. The ‘home’ side proceeded to weave pretty patterns with little end result, although they did take an early lead with a goal that would definitely have called for a VAR review if VAR were a thing in the Vase.

Boro had had the game’s first shot – after two minutes, Ash Siddik won the ball in midfield and laid the ball off to Kris Newby, whose shot was deflected behind for the first of many Boro corners – but after seven minutes Hilltop went ahead. Caleb Mensah – who looked dangerous throughout – found space on the left and cut in to hit a right foot shot that Kamaal Nur waved a foot at from the edge of the six yard box, directly in front of Boro keeper Jake Anderson and looking clearly offside. No flag was forthcoming and although Boro’s protestations led to a consultation between referee Matthew Jackson and his assistant, the goal – which Hilltop’s Twitter feed gave to the ever so offside looking Nur – stood.

The remainder of the first half was spent with Romford camped in the Hilltop half for long periods. Siddik set up Morris for a chance that went begging after Newby had been fouled but a good advantage played – Hilltop’s Hussein Hussen went in the book for the challenge – and then Morris fired over after Newby’s pass had been laid off by Hassan Nalbant. Nalbant then ran onto a through pass but, having rounded keeper Victor Miranda, saw his cut-back hacked away.

Scott Doe’s header from a 22nd minute corner was blocked by a Hilltop defender amid muted Boro appeals for a penalty, but after Kris Newby had been booked for a foul in midfield, Hilltop won a rare corner from which Jake Anderson was forced into a low save.

Lee Hursit had a low shot comfortably saved by Miranda following which Hilltop’s Hussein Mahdi shot well over the bar. Three minutes from the end of the first half, Finlay Dorrell’s run into the box ended with him sprawled on the floor, but no penalty was the verdict. Boro deservedly levelled in the first minute of stoppage time, Dorrell’s pass from the left set up Ash Siddik to score with a well placed shot from the edge of the box, albeit with the aid of a deflection off Hassan Omar.

The second half was more of the same, although Hilltop had slightly more possession than they had before the break, but with Boro doing more with theirs. Romford’s second goal was not long coming, as with 53 minutes played, Junior Luke’s long throw from the left was flicked on by Finlay Dorrell and Charlie Morris headed home from six yards.

Kamaal Nur had a shot at the Boro goal a minute after Morris’s strike, but it was well off target, and Boro might have had a third after 63 minutes when a Hilltop defender’s attempted clearance following a corner put the ball into the danger area, but Hassan Nalbant’s shot from Scott Doe’s onward header went well over.

Hilltop were by now playing with greater urgency – their hitherto lacklustre attitude to restarting play replaced by a higher tempo approach – and they created chances in quick succession, with Junior Luke heading one effort over the bar and Jake Anderson making a routine save from a low, long range effort, but with 75 minutes played, Boro effectively put the game to bed.

Jamie Hursit delivered a corner from the left to the near post, where Charlie Morris got in front of his marker and headed past Miranda.

Hilltop had one last opportunity to reduce the deficit, Jake Anderson was forced to block one shot with the loose ball deflected over, but for all that they had more possession in the second half than they had had in the first, the home side’s chances were few and rarely clear cut.

In 1949, Romford reached the FA Amateur Cup Final; dare we now dream of a repeat visit to Wembley, 75 years later?

Romford: Jake Anderson, Jamie Hursit, Junior Luke, Remi Sutton, Scott Doe, Ash Siddik (Jaiden Babalola, 85m), Lee Hursit (Jacob Wiggins, 77m), Hassan Nalbant, Finlay Dorrell (Mike Faulkner, 69m), Charlie Morris, Kris Newby. Unused subs: Darren Phillips, Reece McGovern, Toheeb Elegushi, Danny Hurford.

Words: Mike Woods
Pictures: Bob Knightley

Match details

Match date

Sat 10 Feb 2024




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