Bishop's Stortford beat Cheshunt in BetVictor Isthmian League ahead of Emirates FA Cup trip to Dunstable Town
Bishop's Stortford will be aiming to build on back-to-back league victories when they set out on their Emirates FA Cup adventure at Dunstable Town in the first qualifying round this Saturday.
It is the fourth straight season the Blues have been drawn away, but they should be confident of progressing against a side two levels below them in the non-League system.
Striker Luke Callander will miss the tie as he completes a three-match ban, but Aaron Greene did make his return from injury as a substitute in the weekend's 3-2 home success over Cheshunt in the BetVictor Isthmian League, Premier Division.
The Blues met Dunstable Town in their only Southern League season in 2017-18, with Stortford winning 5-0 at Cressey Park and 4-1 at the ProKit UK Stadium.
That proved to be Dunstable's final season at step three as they finished bottom of the table with just 27 points from 46 games and conceded an eye-watering 137 goals.
Last season was not much better for the Bedfordshire club as they finished bottom of the Southern League Central with 31 points from 38 games, letting in 91 goals.
However, this season has seen them win 4-1 against Chipping Sodbury Town and 3-2 versus Shortwood United to set up a third straight home tie in the FA Cup.
Their early form in the Spartan South Midlands League has been patchy with a 2-1 home win against Baldock Town giving them their only points from three games.
If the game is a draw then the replay will be at the ProKit on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Jamie Cureton celebrated turning 44 exactly as you would imagine as his two goals helped Bishop’s Stortford beat Cheshunt 3-2 at the ProKit UK Stadium.
The veteran striker, whose birthday was last Wednesday, produced two trademark finishes and was joined on the score sheet by Ryan Charles as the Blues moved up to seventh in the fledgling BetVictor Isthmian League, Premier Division table.
It took only four minutes for the hosts to take the lead as Shomari Barnwell marked his return to the ProKit by flicking the ball on from a long kick to Cureton, who ran in the left channel before delicately scooping the ball over Ambers’ goalkeeper Harry Girling from a tight angle.
A soft foul by Mark Haines on Tom Hitchcock gifted the visitors a chance to equalise, and it was Hitchcock, who played against Harlow and Heybridge Swifts in pre-season for the Blues, who sent Fred Burbidge the wrong way to level the game with his fourth penalty of the campaign.
Cureton's second goal was nearly identical to his first, with another Barnwell flick-on presenting a shooting chance, and he converted again into the bottom corner with a lobbed finish on the half-hour mark.
It took three minutes for the Blues to double their lead as Charles dribbled past two defenders before rifling a low shot into the bottom corner.
In the second half, the Blues were rocked by the loss of captain Sam Robbins in defence and, as a result, Cheshunt fought their way back into the game.
Greene made a welcome return to action, coming off the bench for his first league appearance this season after suffering an injury in the last friendly.
In a frantic few minutes, Ben Worman had a shot cleared off the line before Ryan Henshaw headed away a goal-bound effort at the other end.
The sustained pressure from the visitors told as Taylor McKenzie headed home from close range after no defenders had picked up the man at the far post waiting to deliver the ball across.
But the Blues kept the ball - something that they had struggled to do after the break - in the corners to see out the win.
Blues: Burbidge, Sampayo, Thomas (Morgan 79), Robbins (Warman), Henshaw, Charles (Greene 63), Cureton, Renee, Haines, Worman, Barnwell. Not used: Miles, Lowe.
Cheshunt: Girling, Diallo, Russell, Hughes, McKenzie, Wescott, Olusanya (Cojocarel 69), Camara (Williams 59), Hitchcock, Re, Akinyemi. Not used: Kasniqi, Charles, Watson.