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Elbi strikes to give Town FA Cup joy
11:46am Thursday 5th September 2013 in Local Sport
BRENTWOOD TOWN 3 GREAT WAKERING ROVERS 2 (FA CUP PRELIMINARY ROUND)
PETRIT Elbi drove an 86th minute free kick into the far corner of the goal to secure Brentwood a place in the first qualifying round at home to FC Clacton on Saturday, September 14.
Blues were relieved to get the win and avoid a Wednesday night replay.
Especially as they had raced into a two-goal lead in the first half hour only to be pegged back to 2-2 by a Great Wakering team that had done enough to earn a draw on the day.
Although playing opponents from one level below Ryman North, this match was expected to be a difficult one for Blues against opponents who are top of the Essex Senior League with a 100 per cent record.
And so it proved, with Brentwood pleased to be strengthened by the return of Martyn Stokes, John Bradley and Elbi, while they also gave a debut to forward Dan Subuola.
Rovers started brightly and carved an opening in the first minute when Billy Johnson got free on the left and hit a shot across the face of goal, but wide of the far post.
But the home side were soon on the attack and defender Stokes scored his third goal of the season, sweeping the ball home following a corner in the sixth minute.
Great Wakering player/manager Dan Trenkel shot wide from a decent opening in the 22nd minute while Elbi, despite some very close marking, was leading the Blues attack well.
He shot just off target in the 27th minute and two minutes later was presented with a goal by a bad goal kick from Rovers keeper Adam Seal.
Elbi intercepted the kick and then beat Seal to make it 2-0 with a fine finish just inside the post as the keeper came out.
The visitors looked to hit back immediately.
They went close when a Max Kent free kick from the right was met by the head of Stuart Hepburn, but Rhys Madden in the Brentwood goal saved.
Brentwood then had chances to increase their lead.
Elbi showed some good skill before shooting straight at Seal and the Rovers keeper then had to produce a good save to keep out Steve Carvell’s shot when the winger found space on the right.
But Wakering hit back when Jay Smith headed in an Ashley Hawkins corner five minutes before half time.
Jason Dobbs forced a save from Seal early in the second half, but Rovers were putting some pressure on the Brentwood defence and threatened an equaliser through Trenkel and Johnson. As play continued to flow from end to end, more goals looked likely and it was Nick Skelton, who headed Great Wakering level from a free kick in the 71st minute. A Stokes header from a Robbie Rees free kick was saved by Seal as Blues looked to quickly regain their lead.
Subuola’s effort was also saved by Seal, while both Jake Cass and James Love drove dangerous balls across the face of goal before Elbi struck home that free kick with four minutes remaining.
Blues hung on for the win, but had one particularly anxious moment when Aaron Baldwin’s pace got him clear of the home defence only to see his effort go agonisingly wide of the far post.
Brentwood Town: Madden, Mtyanda, Spurge, Stokes, Sonuga, Love, Carvell (Rees 64), Dobbs (Cass 79), Elbi, Bradley, Subuola. Unused: Seidu, Smith, Rolls, Maskell, Pitman.
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