Home advantage gives Tooting & Mitcham the edge in Emirates FA Cup tie

Saturday 25 Aug 2018
Tooting & Mitcham made home advantage count on Friday night
Samuel-Ogunleye-FA-Young-Reporters-Club By Samuel Ogunleye, a member of The FA Young Reporters' Club.

"I believe that I am a passionate journalist with a huge love for football. I am working every day to improve my skills and take on any bit of advice or criticism. The chance to work with The FA is something I will always keep close to me and I want to show other young journalists that they can also work with huge organisations and receive the opportunities I have. My dream is to one day cover a game at the FIFA World Cup and play a massive part in running the Nigerian Football Federation."

There was a huge buzz around the stadium as Tooting & Mitcham United saw off Horley Town 2-1 after a convincing performance from both sides.

The home fans came prepared with horns and loud voices to create an intense atmosphere and there was also a real sense of family as new joint-managers Ashley Bosah and Cornelius Nwadialor were managing their first Emirates FA Cup tie since taking charge of the south London club earlier this year.

Bosah and Nwadialor are two of a small portion of managers from a BAME background, which made me want to witness the game first-hand. 

Tooting & Mitcham 2-1 Horley
  • Emirates FA Cup
  • Preliminary Round
  • Friday 24 August
  • at Imperial Fields
  • Winners: £2,890, losers: £960
The first half started with Tooting & Mitcham pressing strongly. Good chemistry from left-back Peter Wedgeworth and forward Isiah Jones allowed the home side to create chances but the team struggled to produce a finish.

With a boisterous home crowd to contend with, Horley knew they had to react quickly and winger Russel Harvey struck a superb shot which went in off the post to give the visitors the lead on 20 minutes. Not the start the hosts had hoped for.

A bout of heavy rain fell leaving the players soaked and the pitch slippery. A scenario like this can be a nightmare for defenders but a great opportunity for forwards to take advantage of mistimed tackles.

Tooting & Mitcham saw the chance and earned themselves a penalty which was driven straight down the middle by Dunn to make it 1-1.

The crowd were making even more noise and the away side were still inviting pressure. The wet conditions may have played a part again as a header from Dunn slipped through the goalkeeper's hands for his brace and the home team’s second, just before half-time.

Tooting & Mitcham had the advantage heading into the second half but it was very even and Horley were not prepared to go down without a fight.

Frustrations were building as the away side could see Emirates FA Cup progression slipping away. The referee had to get involved and show back-to-back yellow cards to their defenders. Horley had to stay on their toes to make sure further action was not taken.

Despite the drama, the game ended 2-1 with Bosah and Nwadialor receiving their first Emirates FA Cup win.

Bosah said: "Performance wise I felt like we could have gone into another gear, but the biggest thing is The FA Cup win so it’s brilliant for the team and brilliant for the club."

The expressions on the faces of family and friends as they rushed down to the touchline showed how much this victory meant to the managers and the local area.

This is something we all love to see and should be the gateway for creating a more diverse managerial world in football.

By Samuel Ogunleye FA Young Reporters' Club Imperial Fields