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By Tempest Ward

Great start for new manager

“Rob's Egham Town tattoo, as promised. Finger provided by Mike. ”


Debutant Egham Town manager Ashley Smith wrote his name into Sarnies’ folklore as he guided his new troops past old foes Staines Town in a closely fought local derby and thoroughly earned a place in Monday’s draw.
After Simon Lane left on Saturday it was down to Chairman Pat Bennett to find a replacement who could slot in straight away with another man’s squad and lead them into not just an FA Cup tie but one with added significance given that it was an FA Cup tie against neighbours Staines Town, the first FA Cup tie between the clubs since 1973. For all that the pair are only about 3 miles apart they rarely meet competitively; not since 2002-3 and 2003-4, with a pair of 2-1 home wins in the old Isthmian One South, have they crossed swords in a meaningful way. That infrequency adds a certain piquancy to meetings like today’s.
The run-up for the Sarnies was inauspicious, going down 0-3 against a very average Chalfont St Peter while Staines were winning 2-0 at Poole Town. Egham sit in 19th place in the Bostik South Central and Staines 16th in the Southern Premier South, so neither could feel comfortable about this encounter.
In preparation for his first eve match as a club manager (he was assistant manager last season at FA Vase quarter finalists Windsor) Smith met the squad for a hastily arranged friendly at Chesham United. A not great first half was followed by a better second in a 1-2 defeat that saw Rhys Rabess, who hardly featured under Lane, scoring Egham’s goal. Whatever Rabess did in that match must have impressed Smith, who gave him the No. 7 shirt against Staines. The rest of the pick was pretty much as expected, save for Jermaine Osei and Tom Windsor being named as subs and Fabio Nunes, another sub, being named for the first time. Four ex-Swans featured: Greg Haydon, Michael Kalu, skipper Ashley Lodge and Kezie Ibe.
Six minutes in Danny Julienne fed the ball through to Kalu, who found Rabess for a shot that flew just wide of Louis Dixon’s left post. A foul on Kalu in the penalty area went unpunished halfway through a first half that saw plenty of energy being expended but not a great deal in direct goal threat. Egham were playing with a rediscovered sense of purpose, Kalu in particular enjoying some enterprising runs down the left wing. Another shout for a foul on Kalu in the box went the same way as the first, likewise appeals for handball against visiting full back George Pilbeam. Staines’ one clear chance had come in the 23rd minute when Thomas Gogo fired in a cross shot that beat everyone on its way out of play.
Cristian Colas had clearly given his side a pep talk during the break and Staines looked more dangerous. Luca Charles-Valentine forced Egham keeper Xavi Comas Leon to push the ball clear. Nunes replaced Rabess after 53 minutes. Comas Leon made another save, plunging to his right to save from Gogo and George Barker’s cross shot cried out for a touch. Ruudi Clarke was the next to test Comas Leon; another classy save denied the Swans. As the last quarter of an hour hove into view Ibe forced a corner that Staines cleared. It seemed to mark a change in the match, though, as Egham fans old and new became convinced that victory was possible. Six minutes later came the breakthrough, the indefatigable Tayshen Hayden-Smith winning possession for the umpteenth time and now sliding in a perfect pass for Ibe to outmuscle Robby Merle Badolo Lobonza and slide the ball into the Jungle End goal. Egham went nuts, of course, but had occasion to be grateful for the excellence of Comas Leon down the other end. Julienne was alleged to have fouled Barker on the edge of the box and Harry Agombar curled in a well-struck free kick that the Egham stopper saved superbly, throwing out his right arm and punching the ball to safety. Osei replaced Ibe, who went off to great applause, and Lodge had a shot blocked as Egham looked to seal the win. Staines did not go meekly, though, forcing another good save by Comas Leon. The ball spun towards goal, and Lewis Hobbs had to hook the ball off the line. Dixon went up for the corner, leaving his goal empty. It didn’t cause too much of a problem as the safe hands of Egham’s Spanish keeper settled nerves. The whistle went and the size of this achievement slowly sunk in.
By the time Egham welcome Hertford Town for a Bostik South Central match on Saturday they will know who they will face on 22 September instead of travelling to Chipstead. On 18 September Egham face Whyteleafe at home in the Velocity Trophy First Round.
EGHAM TOWN: Xavi Comas Leon, Josh Andrew, Enock Sagonile, Danny Julienne, Greg Haydon, Lewis Hobbs, Rhys Rabess, Tayshan Hayden-Smith, Kezie Ibe, Ashley Lodge (Captain), Michael Kalu. Substitutes: Isaac Olorunfemi, Fabio Nunes (Rabess, 53), Joseph Debayo, Paolo Giamettei, Tom Windsor, Jermaine Osei (Ibe, 89).
ENT 5/5 MOM Tayshan Hayden-Smith (Egham Town)

Updated 00:57 - 9 Sep 2018 by Tempest Ward

Where next?

BRIGHTLINGSEA REGENT FC to visit the Sarnies Bostik Premier Regents at home 22.9.18


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Sat 27 Apr
First Team Chipstead
League 1 – 4
Mon 22 Apr
First Team FC Romania
League 3 – 1
Sat 20 Apr
League 1 – 2
Sat 13 Apr
First Team Hertford Town
League 3 – 1

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