He said: “I had to tackle this opportunity presented to me by The FA as it ignited the desire and attitude I have to tackle all challenges put before me and it will certainly aid me in becoming an influence within the media industry. I find myself following the growing trend of incorporating my starting journalism vocation with my current playing career and I feel they both go hand in hand and really help me to understand the game and connect with the people I use in my writing.”
The Runnymede, hidden by an attractive suburban area of homes, wouldn’t usually be the anticipated scene for football madness but yesterday it was teeming with roaring supporters from both clubs.
Egham Town, known locally as The Sarnies, welcomed local rivals Staines Town for what would be a pulsating Emirates FA Cup first round qualifying tie. Egham’s 1-0 victory in no way reflected the intensity of the much-awaited tie.
The 384 spectators in attendance created an almost Cup final atmosphere that will be hard to top for both teams throughout the rest of the season especially as Egham are only used to welcoming half that number on a regular home game.
- Emirates FA Cup
- First Round Qualifying
- Saturday 8 September
- The Runnymede Stadium
- Winning club to receive £6,000
The game was fast-paced, attacking and pulsating to watch from start to finish with the home side dominating play and creating three decent chances early on.
It took until midway through the second half for the deadlock to be broken through a Kezie Ibe goal as he rounded the keeper to finish calmly in front of a hoard of jubilant supporters.
The older fans took turns in chanting with the children, bellowing their own chorus and giving the referee a bit of stick on every call.
Staines created chances of their own to keep the Egham fans on their toes towards the end of the game but they had left it a little too late.
Staines, known as The Swans, were without goalkeeper Emmanuel Agboola, who is on loan from League One side Oxford United.
“It’s always disappointing not to be able to play,” said Agboola. “We’ll bounce back as a team and look to improve in the next game.”
Egham have reached the fourth round qualifying on two previous occasions, while their defeated opponents have gone as far as the first round proper six times, most recently in 2015.
“I only remember seeing us playing each other four times since I was about 10 years old” said long-time fan ‘Jimmy the Gateman’ as he reflected on life as a young fan before settling into his current role with the club.
Despite the two clubs being a stone’s throw away, this is a rivalry that hasn’t had the opportunity to really manifest. Playing in separate leagues is the obvious factor, but this mesmeric game of football could signify the start of a new rivalry.
If you're aged between 18 and 24 and interested in joining The FA's Young Reporters' Club, please e-mail Editor@TheFA.com with an excerpt from an essay, match report or interview you have written. Tell us a bit about yourself, too, and we may well get in touch with you ahead of the next round.