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Bishop’s Stortford won their first match in the FA Cup in nearly six years in an eight-goal thriller away at Dunstable Town.
The Blues’ 3-5 win against the Bedfordshire team was their first since a 1-0 win at Forest Green Rovers in the fourth qualifying round in 2013, with losses to Tooting & Mitcham, Sutton United, Felixstowe & Walton, Potters Bar Town and St Neots Town since then.
Aaron Greene started brightly in his first competitive start of the season, showing no signs of injury when he charged at the Dunstable right back and crossed for Jamie Cureton inside 10 minutes.
Cureton couldn’t sort his feet out for the volley attempt, but opened the scoring soon after when a pass back from a defender to Mackenzie Taylor was intercepted by Cureton who smashed home from close range.
After some free-flowing attacking play by Greene, Cureton and Shomari Barnwell, the Blues got a deserved second goal when Cureton’s corner was headed back across goal by Ryan Henshaw and Ryan Charles nodded in for 0-2.
The hosts didn’t have a real chance at goal until the 33rd minute, when captain Chris Stapleton stung Fred Burbidge’s palms with a header at the back post.
Joe Zunguzah made a clumsy tackle on Barnwell at the other end for a certain penalty, and Barnwell himself slotted the penalty away, despite Taylor diving correctly to his right.
Ben Sampayo made a driving run from left back on the stroke of half time, he put Barnwell through on goal who unselfishly passed to Cureton for a tap in and a 0-4 lead at the break – his sixth goal in as many games this season in all competitions.
It only took nine minutes for a second half break through, with Charles and Cureton playing a one-two before ‘Spider’ converted from the edge of the box, his fourth goal in three appearances this campaign.
From then on the play was all the way of Dunstable – Mark Haines made a brilliant goal line clearance with a header on to the bar, before Zunguzah converted from close range.
After a lengthy stoppage for an injury, Dunstable reduced the deficit further, as Henshaw was pressured by Luke Little who scored from 10 yards.
Another defensive error led to another goal, this time David Pobbe was there to convert and shrink the lead to just two goals with six minutes to play.
Alfie Mason came off the bench for his first appearance of the season, while Ahmed Abdulla made his debut in midfield.
The Blues held on to win, against a second half performance that deserved a replay at the very least.
The draw for the second qualifying round will be made on Monday, and that tie will be played in two weeks’ time.
Before then we are in Bet Victor Isthmian Premier action away to Folkestone Invicta on Saturday, and we host Cray Wanderers the following Tuesday.
Dunstable Town XI
1. Mackenzie Taylor
2. Kai McArthur (Sub Boyce-Fuller 62′)
3. Adam Sawyer
4. Dan Blackman
5. Dan Trif
6. Joe Zunguzah (Goal 56′) (Sub Ameyaw 57′)
7. Evans Lamboh
8. Davide Pobbe (Goal 84′) (Sub McCool 90+4′)
9. Luke Little (Goal 65′)
10. Jack Harvey
11. Chris Stapleton (c)
12. Kelvin Osei-Addo
13. Andrew Mackintosh
14. Jordan Boyce-Fuller
15. Jack McCool
16. Eric Ameyaw
17. Andre Elliot
18. Tyrik Lee
Bishop’s Stortford XI
1. Fred Burbidge
2. Ben Sampayo
4. Jack Thomas (Sub Morgan 68′)
5. Ahmed Abdulla
6. Ryan Henshaw (c)
7. Ryan Charles (Goal 24′ 54′) (Sub Mason 68′)
9. Jamie Cureton (Goal 12′ 44′)
11. Aaron Greene (Sub Worman 90′)
14. Johnville Renee
17. Mark Haines
20. Shomari Barnwell (Goal – pen 41′)
3. William Mycroft-Edwards
8. Alex Warman
10. Olly Miles
12. Harry Morgan
15. Alfie Mason
18. Ben Worman