Uxbridge 2-2 Wembley FC
The FA Cup with Budweiser
2.30pm, Sunday 26 August 2012
Honeycroft, Uxbridge FC
Winning clubs receive £1750 from The FA's prize fund
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By Zarif Rasul
Wembley FC will have to face Uxbridge again for a place in the first round proper of The FA Cup with Budwesier after throwing away at two-goal lead at Honeycroft on Sunday.
The Combined Counties League outfit, who featured former internationals Ugo Ehiogu and Claudio Caniggia in their starting line-up, in addition to former Three Lions pair Terry Venables and Martin Keown on the bench, thought they’d secured a berth in the next phase of the competition after goals from the talismanic pair of Paul Shelton and Daryl Atkins handed them a seemingly unassailable lead.
However, two goals in two minutes in the second half turned the tie on its head and earned Uxbridge another chance at trying to make the First Round Qualifying.
Uxbridge, who were playing in front of their largest crowd in 23 years, started slowly, and it was no surprise when Wembley went in front.
Paul Shelton, Wembley’s record goalscorer, showcased fantastic persistence to chase down a loose ball, and he adroitly drew Uxbridge goalkeeper John Peacock out of goal before comfortably slamming the ball into the back of the net for his 140th strike for the club in the 26th minute.
However, the home side nearly equalised within minutes of Shelton’s breakthrough. A dangerous cross was flashed across the face of the Wembley goal and landed in front of Kevin Warner, but the left-back’s first-time effort dragged just wide of the far post.
Uxbridge continued to pour forward in search of an equaliser but they were quelled by a resilient Wembley defence, which was expertly marshalled by former England defender Ehiogu.
However, Wembley, with the influential pair of player-manager Ian Bates and winger Atkins continually showing their class, extended their lead four minutes before the interval in spectacular fashion.
Claudio Caniggia’s searching cross from the right-hand side was miscontrolled by substitute JJ Mitchell and the ball kindly fell to Atkins, who absolutely hammered the ball into the top left-hand corner, leaving Peacock with no chance.
It was a sweet moment for Atkins, the two goal-hero of Wembley’s 3-2 triumph against Langford Town in the last round, and the perfect way for him to celebrate his new contract at Wembley.
Wembley continued where they left off after the break and Atkins was denied a second goal when Peacock tipped his fierce long-range drive over the crossbar.
Uxbridge soon recovered from their sluggish start to the second period, and grew in confidence, placing increasing amounts of pressure on the Wembley backline.
Kevin Warner got the home side back in the game in the 67th minute, sumptuously guiding his 25-yard free-kick over the wall and into the bottom left-hand corner.
And within two minutes they were back on level terms, with Chris Moore successfully evading the attention of the Wembley defence, before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
The hosts were clearly buoyed by their swift two-goal salvo, and Moore was unfortunate not put his side in front for the first time in the match after lifting the ball over the bar from six yards out.
However, it was Atkins who spurned the most glorious of opportunities to seal his side’s passage, with the Wembley winger, who was unmarked six yards from goal, carelessly skying the ball over with just the goalkeeper to beat.
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