Hemel Hempstead Town 2 Nuneaton Town 0 (AET)
28th October 2014, FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round Replay
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News
In most games, however bad the defeat may be, there will be positives that can be taken.
The Boro were poor in the first match between these two teams at the weekend, but manager Liam Daish managed to see the positives – ‘at least we are still in the cup’ – was his message after that game.
But, with the Boro crashing out of their Fourth Qualifying Round Replay on Tuesday night, Daish could not even have that to fall back on....to put it simply, Boro were not good enough.
Any team can go out of the FA Cup to lower league opponents, that is what makes the competition as magical as it is.
The only guarantee normally is that both teams will give their all to try and make sure it is them that books safe passage into the next round.
The Boro did not meet that standard on Tuesday night, though. They created little and lacked the drive needed to see-off a spirited lower league side. They deserved what they got in the end – an early exit from one of the most famous knock-out competitions in the world.
Things could have been so different if Ben Hutchinson had put one of his headed chances away in the first half Hemel may have folded.
Just like at the weekend though, the Boro frontman failed to find the target when free in the box, giving Hemel a second chance which they looked in the mood to make the most of.
The home side – although not creating much themselves – seemed content to watch the Boro be the masters of their own downfall. Anton Brown was afforded too much room in the box in the second half but, just like Hutchinson, the midfielder could only head wide when unmarked and just yards out.
Those chances summed up the Boro performance. They lacked the killer instinct needed to ensure it was them who would be facing Bury in the next round.
They were also some of the most clear-cut chances in a game void of any real openings.
That fact must be one that worries Daish the most – what with meaner defences to be faced in the Conference Premier in the coming weeks.
Despite all their shortcomings the Boro could still have nicked it late on, Adam Dawson was unlucky to see his fine run into the box end with his curled shot clipping the crossbar rather than nestling into the back of the net.
That was the last time the Boro looked an attacking force in the game as the extra-time period saw them simply blown away by their lower league hosts.
Hemel decided it was time to take the gloves off and once they upped the tempo the Boro could not live with them.
Jamel Lowe had an effort cleared off the line but a minute later he was on hand at the back post to turn in Jordan Parks low cross.
Boro couldn’t find a response and in the final minute of the opening period of extra time their hopes were ended as James Potton fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
That goal brought an end to the FA Cup for another year for Nuneaton, if they do not find a way to get goals – and soon – then their Conference Premier standing may also be coming to an end come May.
BORO: Wren, Streete, Franklin, Cowan, Dean, Walker (Armson 85), Anton Brown, Fowler, Dawson, Hutchinson, Curran (John 67).
Subs not used: Starosta, Smith, Quinn, McSweeney, Richards.
HEMEL: Walker, Asafu-Adjaye, Connolly (Brighton 46), Parkes, Johnson, Diarra, Talbot, Daly, Hawkins, Potton, Toomey (Lowe 64).
Subs not used : Allen, Lobjoit, Opoku, King, May.