Harpenden Town continue FA Cup adventure with Cockfosters success

Harry Hunt had a busy first half. Picture: DANNY LOO

Harry Hunt had a busy first half. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

Harpenden Town’s first foray into the FA Cup for 11 years continued after a battling 2-1 extra-preliminary win at Cockfosters.

The Spartan South Midlands League Division One side defeated their Premier Division opponents thanks to two early goals from Sam James and Harry Hunt.

The sending off of John Cush after just 15 minutes left Cockfosters with a mountain to climb and despite Jonny Sexton’s strike, it proved too much.

Hunt, Harpenden’s top scorer last year, was a huge part of the big three incidents of the breathless opening.

His corner found James at the far post after 10 minutes and he chased down a lost cause four minutes later to score the second, deflecting a clearance back beyond Davis Boateng in in the home goal.

And when he was hauled down on the edge of the area a minute later, the referee decided, probably fairly, that it was a professional foul and showed Cush a red card.

It was nothing more than the Division One side deserved as they had started the brighter.

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And Cockfosters’ hopes of progressing suffered a further blow when they lost their other centre half Carl Mensah to injury at the mid-point of the half.

They managed to find their way back in to the game though with four minutes remaining of the first period.

Harpenden were doing well in containing any home threat and looked like they would get to the break without any problem.

However, a ball from the right found Jonny Sexton at the back post and it changed the dynamic of the game.

The hosts started the second as they finished the first, with plenty of possession and territory.

Harpenden on the other hand seemed to retreat within themselves, almost inviting trouble onto them.

And the longer the second half went on, the more niggly and bad-tempered it became.

Cockfosters had a number of free-kicks but it wasn’t until the 88th minute that Matt Lord was tested.

He may not have knew anything about it but he somehow diverted Carl Resch’s close-range shot over the bar.

There was still a couple of chances but Harpenden progress to the next round.

They will travel to Chalfont St Peter in the Preliminary Round on Saturday, August 20.

Harpenden: Lord, Davies, C.Arnold, Golder, Cartwright, O’Brien (Frost 85), Warner (Collin 57), Gould, Hunt, James, Warren (Hitchcock 57)

Subs (not used): Eggink, Edwards, L.Arnold

Goals: James 10, Hunt 14

Cockfosters: Boateng, Bull, Wild, Rolfe, Cush, Mensah (Sexton 22), Ferguson (Lawrence 68), Ironton, O’Connor, Brandon (Resch 21), Melford-Rowe

Subs (not used): Cassidy-Sinclair, Maja, Hastings, Trivino

Goals: Sexton 41

Sent off: Cush 15