Sunday, 19 August 2007

19/08/2007 - Sporting Bengal 0 London APSA 0

On Sunday I travelled to the Mile End Stadium to witness the first ever all Asian FA Cup tie held between Sporting Bengal and London APSA.

This was the Extra Preliminary Round of the seasons FA Cup competiton and the matches played this weekend have come just over 90 days since John Terry lifted the cup for Chelsea at Wembley.

Sporting Bengal play in the Kent League while APSA are in the Essex Senior League and according to the programme there has always been a healthy rivallry between the clubs since their early days in Asian Football.

The game attracted a big crowd of what I estimated was over 200 people and scattered amongst the mostly Asian faces were a number of people that you could spot as Groundhoppers, wanting to witness this landmark.

Both teams coveted the prize of a place in the Preliminary Round, as they would be the first Asian club to make it that far, and from the kick-off the tackles were flying in.

And there were chances at both ends in a very competitive first half, but neither team could break the deadlock.

Mile End Stadium has an athletics track around the pitch which always leaves you feeling slightly disjointed but this was made up by some boisterous support for both sides.

In the second half I would say that London APSA shaded it, their forwards were tricky and had more invention than their Sporting counterparts, but come the final whistle it was announced that they would play another 30 minutes of extra time.

But both sets of legs were running heavy, and neither team could find the net, although APSA missed out on automatic progression by missing an absolute beauty of an opening, their striker hitting wide of the goal in face of the onrushing Bengal custodian.

An interesting way to spend a Sunday afternoon and a much more interetsing reason to visit Mile End Stadium than a regular league game. Plus of course a double tick as Beaumont Athletic groundshare with Bengal.
A set of gonks from Football Focus were there filming so I will have to look out and see if I made it on to the telly.