In the shadows of the Wembley arch, Club Website’s Wembley FC drew 1-1 with Royston in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on Saturday.
In a tight and often scrappy game, the home side came back from a goal down at half time to secure a replay at Royston’s Garden Walk ground tomorrow (Tuesday) evening.
Along with TV crews from ITV and Sentanta, Club Website was there to catch all the action on Saturday and, after the final whistle, we caught up with both sides to get their reaction to the game.
Wembley centre back Bradley Scott was disappointed with his side’s performance. “I don’t think we played to our full potential really.”
“First half I thought we were poor and second half we were a little bit better. We got the goal that we needed nice and early, but then we didn’t capitalise on it.”
Scott’s centre back partner Andrew Walker was sent off in the closing stages but, despite some half-chances for Royston to win the game, Wembley held on for the replay.
“After the red card we lost our shape a little bit,” said Scott. “We started to lose the ball a bit in the middle of the park, so it was good to get a draw in the end.”
These thoughts were echoed by assistant manager George Green. “After we got the player sent off, I was happy to get the draw,” he said. “We had a chat at half time and came out a different team to the first half, but we’re still not playing to our full potential. We’re not buzzing around at the moment, but hopefully we can put it right on Tuesday.”
So is the key to success in the replay an improved attacking performance from Wembley? Scott certainly seems to think so.
“I think we need a bit more guile in the last third. We defended well enough today, but I don’t think we used the ball as well as we can.
“We’re a much better footballing team than what we’ve displayed today, so hopefully we can get the ball down and play and get the result we need on Tuesday.”
Having seen his side dominate for much of the game, Royston boss Paul Attfield was left to reflect on what might have been. “Overall I was disappointed not to win the game,” he told us.
“I thought we controlled the majority of the first half without creating that many chances, but we were naive in the early stages of the second half and let them have too much ball in the first 10-15 minutes of the half. But they’re a young squad and they’re learning.
“I look at from the point of view that Wembley had one shot on goal in the whole game and it’s gone in. But I’ll take some positives out the game as well. I thought we played some good football at times, especially in the last 20 minutes and at stages in the first half. In the end we were a bit unlucky not to nick the game.”
Looking forward to Tuesday, Attfield said: “I don’t think anyone’s got the upper hand. They’ll probably look at it from the point of view that they’ve not played that well and they’ve got another chance. We had the chance to do it today and we’ve not done that, so we need to take the positive things we’ve done today and do it over 90 minutes on Tuesday.
“There’s been a lot of hype about today’s game but they are a young squad and I think they took it quite well. I didn’t think it affected how they played. I thought at stages today we played some good football and I’m confident going into Tuesday. If we play how we’ve played in the majority of this game that we can do it at our place.”
The media hype around the game, which also saw FA Chief Exectuive Brian Barwick in attendance, may have had an effect on Wembley’s players, according to Green. Reflecting on the presence of the TV cameras he told us: “I think that was part of the problem for us today. For Tuesday, I’ll try and get into the players: “don’t be fazed by the TV cameras.
“Looking at the game today I don’t think we played to our full potential. We weren’t zipping the ball around like we normally do. But I’m going to guarantee you that you’ll see a different Wembley team on Tuesday.”
The winners of the tie will face AFC Hayes in the Prelimary Qualifying Round on Saturday 30 August.