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Great Wakering fight back is in vain as they exit FA Cup at Brentwood Town
Brentwood Town 3, Great Wakering Rovers 2
GREAT Wakering are out of this year’s FA Cup despite fighting back from 2-0 down to draw level in an entertaining derby at Brentwood.
Goals from Martyn Stokes and Petrit Elbi had put the hosts in control, but Rovers pulled one back through Jay Smith just before the break and when Nick Skelton headed home with 20 minutes to go it looked like Dan Trenkel’s side might complete a fine turn-around.
But former Aveley and East Thurrock man Elbi had the final word when his late free-kick found the net via a big deflection off the wall to put Les Whitton’s new-look Brentwood side through to face FC Clacton in the next round.
Trenkel felt the better side had lost on the day, but said the cup exit may be a blessing in disguise.
“I just said to the guys that we’re never going to win the FA Cup, and while it is nice to go through a few rounds, the goal for this season is to get out of the Essex Senior League,” he said.
“We don’t want to be looking back and saying we got to the second or third qualifying round but we finished third in the league.
“I would much rather go out now and win our league, and that’s our ultimate aim.”
Brentwood took a fifth minute lead when Rovers failed to clear a corner and the ball fell invitingly for Stokes to sweep the ball high into the net and past the defenders on the line.
Rovers’ first meaningful effort on goal came in the 21st minute when Billy Johnson helped James Pugsley’s ball on to Trenkel, but he dragged his shot a few feet wide.
Brentwood doubled their advantage just before the half hour mark when Elbi stole possession on the edge of the box and finished coolly.
Rovers were denied an immediate reply by an excellent reflex stop by Rhys Madden to keep out Skelton’s header from Max Kent’s free-kick into the six-yard box.
It was the hosts, though, who continued to look the more dangerous with Elbi then Dan Subuola both stinging Adam Seal's fingertips in quick succession.
But just when it was staring to look like being a long afternoon for the visitors they found a hlaf-time pick-me-up when Smith was afforded to firmly head home Ashley Hawkin’s corner from close range.
They went close to a leveller four minutes into the second half when Billy Radley stole in but steered a first time effort from Trenkel’s cross narrowly wide.
Brentwood went close to a third when Steve Carvell skewed wide with a sight of goal, and then Rovers hit their 70th minute equaliser.
Dave Collins, who had not long come on to replace Radley, delivered a lovely free-kick from the right and Skelton sent a towering header into the top corner to draw his side level.
It was a frenetic finish to the game with chances at either end, but it was Brentwood who came up with a winner with four minutes remaining when Elbi’s free-kick from the right-hand edge of the box took a hefty defection in a crowded penalty box before creeping inside the far post.