Dan Sparkes. Photo: Darren Woolley / darrenwoolley.photos

Maidenhead United exit FA Cup; Hungerford Town taste first defeat

Magpies beaten by lower league opposition while Crusaders 100% record ended
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Dan Sparkes. Photo: Darren Woolley / darrenwoolley.photos

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Vanarama National League Maidenhead United couldn’t make it three wins in a row on Saturday when East London side Cray Valley (PM) upset the odds in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round.

The Magpies had beaten former Football League sides Wrexham and Notts County in the league in the last fortnight but succumbed 3-2 to the Isthmian League South Central Division One side, three steps lower in the English Football Pyramid, at York Road.

It all started so well for Alan Devonshire’s side when they were 2-0 up inside half an hour, Manny Parry scoring in the 18th minutes and Dan Sparkes doubling the lead on 28 minutes but an immediate response from Cray’s Ade Yusuff made it 2-1 and the visitors were level on the stroke of half-time through Connor Dymond.

The game looked set for penalties when the visitors sucker-punched the Magpies, Francis Babalola scoring in the third minute of injury time to send Cray in to the First Round Proper for the first time in the clubs history having already played five times in this seasons competition.

For Maidenhead, focus returns back to the National League when Dagenham & Redbridge head to York Road on Tuesday night.

In one of the few National League South games to take place due to the FA Cup, Hungerford Town suffered their first defeat of the season in a 3-2 defeat at Ebbsfleet United.

The Crusaders were 2-1 up at 10-man Ebbsfleet after Mike Jones had scored the opener and Luke Hopper gave Danny Robinson’s side the lead following the home sides equaliser, but despite the numerical player advantage, Ebbsfleet – who were relegated from the top tier of the National League at the end of the season – Lee Martin and Bobby-Joe Taylor scored the winning goals in the second half.

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