FA Cup, First Qualifying Round
Stratford Town 6 (Lyng OG 23, Hughes 36 pen, Shariff 59 62 89, Ball 90+1)
Boldmere St Michaels 1 (Skinner 47)
Report by Craig Gibbons
A SECOND-HALF hat-trick from Nabil Shariff helped Stratford Town book their place in the FA Cup second qualifying round with a 6-1 victory over Boldmere St Michaels.
Joseph Lyng’s own goal gave Tommy Wright’s men the lead in the 23rd minute before Liam Hughes smashed home a penalty 13 minutes later to give the hosts a two-goal cushion.
Two minutes into the second period Jack Skinner pulled a goal back for the Midland League Premier Division basement boys, but any hopes of a comeback were dashed after Shariff bagged a quick-fire double on the hour mark.
Shariff then completed his hat-trick on the cusp of the 90th minute before second-half substitute Callum Ball rounded off the afternoon’s scoring in stoppage time, as Town eased into the next round of the FA Cup.
Wright made no less than six changes to the team which suffered a 2-1 defeat to Biggleswade Town last Saturday, with Elliott Taylor, Luis Morrison, Linden Dovey, Ross Oulton, Kurtis Revan and Chris Wreh coming in for Sam Lomax, Yan Ofosu, Mitchell Glover, Tom Fishwick, Ball and now Stourbridge man Cody Fisher.
The scoreline perhaps didn’t do Boldmere’s performance justice, as the visitors caused Town plenty of problems and their first chance of the game fell to ex-Blues man Simeon Tulloch, who capitalised on some confusion in the home defence, but could only send his lobbed effort over the bar.
And moments later he wasted an even bigger chance, this time guiding Skinner’s pin-point cross wide of Elliott Taylor’s near post.
After a slow start, Wreh thought he had put the hosts ahead in the 21st minute when he nodded into an empty net from close range, but the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside.
Starting to assert their dominance on proceedings, Town nosed themselves ahead two minutes later when Oulton’s in-swinging free-kick was glanced into his own net by the unfortunate Lyng.
Continuing to push for the all-important second goal, Town were awarded a penalty nine minutes before the break when Revan was cynically brought down in the area by Barry Healey.
And Hughes duly obliged from 12 yards out, smashing the ball straight down the middle of goal to give his side a two-goal cushion going into the half-time break.
Just two minutes after the restart the visitors pulled a goal back when Skinner’s volley from the edge of the area flew into the bottom corner with the help of the post.
Before the hour mark the visitors came within a lick of paint of getting back on level terms, but after getting in behind the Town defence and poking an effort past the onrushing Taylor, Rikardo Reid’s shot agonisingly trickled past the far post.
Immediately up the other end the Mikes were made to pay for that miss as Shariff latched on to Hughes’ throughball before unleashing a fierce left-footed drive which flew past Buttery at his near post.
Three minutes later Town gave themselves some much-needing breathing room when Shariff confidently headed home from Oulton’s delicious right-wing cross.
A spirited Boldmere refused to roll over and it needed a stunning save from Taylor 18 minutes from the end to deny Skinner from lashing home his second from close range before Owen Parry curled an effort wide from the edge of the area.
Reid continued to be a nuisance up top for Boldmere and he wasted another chance to pull a goal back with ten minutes to go, once again firing just wide of Taylor’s far post after getting in behind the Town defence.
Shariff ensured he would be taking home the match ball in the 89th minute when he headed home from Mitchell Glover’s Cross before Ball completed the afternoon’s scoring with a fine left-footed finish from ten yards out.
TOWN: Elliott Taylor, Lewis Wilson, Daniel Vann, Luis Morrison, Linden Dovey, Ross Oulton (Mitchell Glover 66), Kurtis Revan (Callum Ball 79), Ivor Lawton, Nabil Shariff, Liam Hughes, Chris Wreh (Dylan Parker 66). Unused subs: Sam Lomax, James Hancocks, Joel Gyasi, Richard Platt.
BOLDMERE: Harry Buttery, Brandon Williams, Barry Healey, Alister Brauns, Luke McGinnell, Joseph Lyng, Jack Skinner, Jack Burgess (Jake Allen 84), Rikardo Reid, Owen Parry, Simeon Tulloch (Taimoor Hussain 66). Unused subs: Harry Sweeney, Kyle Byrne, Callum Hall.