8-goal thriller gives Bishop's Stortford first FA Cup win in six seasons
Dunstable Town 3, Bishop's Stortford 5 (Emirates FA Cup, first qualifying round)
Blues are into Monday's draw for the Emirates FA Cup second qualifying round later this month after winning their first tie in the competition for six years.
The victory was more comprehensive than the scoreline might suggest, as Stortford were 5-0 up after 54 minutes against their Bedfordshire hosts, who play two tiers below them in the Spartan South Midlands League.
Veteran striker and joint manager Jamie Cureton – who last Saturday celebrated his 44th birthday with two goals in the 3-2 home league win over Cheshunt Town – bagged another brace to take his season's tally to six goals in six games. Ryan Charles also scored twice and Shomari Barnwell found the net.
Stortford made two changes to their starting line-up. Aaron Greene, who started on the bench against Cheshunt, swapped places with Cambridge United loanee Ben Worman, while injured captain Sam Robbins was replaced by new signing Ahmed Abdulla, a 27-year-old midfielder and the first Saudi Arabian-born footballer to play for the club.
Abdulla came through the Arsenal youth system before joining West Ham as a 16-year-old, eventually signing a pro contract in August 2011. A loan spell with Swindon Town preceded a move to Dagenham & Redbridge in March 2012. A two-year spell at Barnet saw him score three goals in 29 games, and since then he has played for Whitehawk, Staines, Ware, Heybridge Swifts and Concord Rangers before starting this season with Hayes & Yeading.
Blues picked up this afternoon from where they left off in their previous encounters with Dunstable. The two clubs met in Stortford's only Southern League season, 2017-18, with Blues winning 5-0 at Cressey Park and 4-1 at the ProKit (UK) Stadium.
They took the lead in the 12th minute when Cureton pounced on a weak back pass from a Dunstable defender and converted powerfully over the goalkeeper.
Charles doubled the lead on 24 minutes, converting from close range after defender Ryan Henshaw headed back across goal from a corner by Cureton.
Stortford then scored twice in four minutes just before half time. First, Barnwell was fouled in the box and scored the resulting penalty for his second goal in three games since re-signing for the club. He then unselfishly turned provider with a pass across the box for Cureton to tap in and make it 4-0 at the break.
Within 10 minutes of the restart, Blues had scored a fifth, Charles getting his second of the afternoon – and his fourth of the season – from the edge of the box after a one-two with Cureton.
Goals from Zunguzah (56), Little (65) and Pobbe (84) gave the final score respectability for Dunstable in front of a crowd of 221.
The win earned Blues £4,500 from the FA's prize fund and they now wait for Monday's draw to see who they will face in the second qualifying round. Having been drawn away for the fourth straight season in the FA Cup, they will be hoping for a home tie at the ProKit UK Stadium on September 21.
Blues: Burbidge, Sampayo, Thomas, Abdulla, Henshaw, Charles, Cureton, Greene, Renee, Haines, Barnwell. Subs: Mycroft-Edwards, Warman, Miles, Morgan, Mason, Worman.