Sandhurst Town crashed out of the Buildbase FA Vase by losing 6-2 to North Greenford United at Larges Lane on Saturday.
Even eight goals failed to reflect the number of chances which both sides created in a thoroughly entertaining first-round tie which was switched from evening to the afternoon at short notice following the cancellation of Bracknell Town’s Buildbase FA Trophy clash with Cinderford side due to a Covid-19 issue in the visitors camp.
In a largely end-to-end game that could have finished with a scoreline more reminiscent to a rugby game, it was United’s clinical finishing which saw them make further progress in the competition.
Looking to shake opponents from a higher level, the Fizzers soon made their intentions clear they were after an early goal, having regular pops even from long distance.
But, at the other end, it needed a smart save from keeper Christian Paulat-Brigg followed by a goal-line clearance to stop Kai Brosnan’s deflected effort putting the Spartan South Midlands League side ahead.
Brosnan became a constant threat to Sandhurst, along with Charlie Mitchell on the opposite wing, with the pair’s pace continually setting up attacks, often helped by the space they were given by the home defence.
The Fizzers held out until the 24th minute when Ashley Harrack met a corner with a powerful header that gave Paulat-Brigg no chance.
Moments later, good work by James East and Josh Millar nearly produced a quick equaliser, while Alex Millar shot wide and Joao Jardim saw his effort tipped over the bar.
The pressure paid off just seconds from the end of the first-half stoppage time with Hind, outside the far post, heading in a left-wing corner back into the far corner to leave the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League side deservedly on level terms at the break.
But within 10 minutes of the second half, they found themselves trailing 3-1. The ever-dangerous Brosnan got the goal he deserved and then a mix-up between Paulat-Brigg and Gary McDonald let in Melford Simpson, who had earlier hit the post when it looked easier to score.
Mitchell extended the visitors’ advantage in the 73rd minute, only for substitute Sudman Limbo to dance his way through to net Sandhurst’s second 10 minutes later.
Any hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed as Mitchell was on target again in the 85th minute with Tolu James scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time to take the final score to 6-2.
The scoreline was a bit harsh on the Fizzers as they were not four goals inferior, but North Greenford’s clinical finishing was the main difference between the sides.
Sandhurst had gone into the game on the back of a 2-1 win over British Airways in the Cherry Red Records Premier Cup the previous Wednesday, their goals coming from Joao Jardin and Ben Watson.
They have been drawn at home to Raynes Park Vale in the second round.
It wasn’t a good day for Berkshire sides in the Vase with Ascot United going down 4-1 at Newhaven and Reading City losing 1-0 at home to Lancing, but at least there will be a Buckinghamshire side in round two following Flackwell Heath’s 2-0 win at Frimley Green.
The Uhlsport Hellenic League also still have Royal Wootton Bassett and Longlevens flying the flag when the competition resumes, hopefully in December.