FA Cup: Carshalton Athletic 1-1 Chelmsford City

After a long afternoon at the War Memorial Sports Ground, in a game with late goals and drama that both teams will feel they could have won, these two non-league sides have it all to do again. Their reward: A first round home tie to either Hendon or the Metropolitan Police.

Both the Robins and the Clarets could be forgiven for being a tad underwhelmed by the draw but both will know that it offers them an excellent opportunity to progress in the competition – and the further they progress, the more chance there is of drawing a big side and banking a nice payday.

Indeed, this first round tie is unusual insofar as all four sides will feel it would be winnable, although Blue Square South Chelmsford will be favourites both for their replay and the first round tie, assuming they make it through.

But whatever the result of Tuesday’s replay, Carshalton will feel hard done by after taking the lead in the 89th minute with a cool chip from Anthony Joseph, only to be pegged back in the 95th minute by Rob Edmonds’ towering header.

Robins boss Mark Butler later complained about the length of stoppage time, and he had a point. The whole 90 minutes were played at fast pace with few breaks in play and it was little wonder Carshalton thought they had the game wrapped up.

Hard as it may be for the Surrey team to stomach though, a draw was just about a fair result. Carshalton showed willing and were solid in frustrating a technically superior Chelmsford who were lacking in ideas around the final third.

Carshalton striker Byron Harrison was unlucky to hit the post twice in the first half, although the frontman frequently found himself offside in the second half as he continued to harry the Clarets defence all afternoon.

Chelsmford, though, finished the first half strongest and kept Carshalton pegged back for the first twenty minutes of the second half, without ever really creating a great deal, with one close range shot the closest the Essex side came to breaking the deadlock.

Just as the game looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate, a terrible piece of dawdling defending allowed Joseph to nick the ball on the edge of the area and coolly chipped the ball over the outrushing keeper.

At this point, all Carshalton needed to do was keep their discipline and hold Chelmsford at bay but their higher-placed opponent finally stepped up a gear an after a series of corners, an inch-perfect cross found the lanky Edmonds at the far post who couldn’t miss with a free header.

The only blemish on a great game was an altercation between fans and stewards in front of Danish TV cameras, but this was a proper battle played in the spirit of the cup with Ryman Premier Carshalton more than matching their higher-placed opponents.

The first round tie featuring either of these two probably won’t attract a huge deal of attention given the all non-league match up, but given the respective form of both Hendon and Met Police, the first round game in either Essex or Surrey should be well worth watching.


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