Venue - South Park FC
2 Pugsley (Gardner)
8 Hall (Bell)
9 Freeman (Price)
A good contingent of Blues fans braved the weather, the QE2 Bridge and M25 traffic to journey South to Surrey for the replay of the Buildbase FA Trophy Preliminary Round game against South Park.
This game should not have been necessary as Town had done all the hard work in the first half of the original tie the previous Saturday afternoon at The Arena. Blues took the opposition apart in 45 minutes of thrilling, attractive and skilful football, winning in virtually every department, and went in at half time 3-0 up, although this was not a true reflection of the play and it is arguable that the score heavily flattered the away side and Blues could easily have scored at least double that.
However, on that occasion, South Park came out in the second half looking a different side. They appeared an older, more experienced side on a mission and with a game plan. They dictated play in the second half, managed many of the more important decisions and, before Town knew what was happening, they found themselves a man down for a slightly harsh violent conduct red card when James Pugsley challenged for a rather pointless ball directly in front of the away dugout, and with a reduced margin of a 3-2 scoreline.
It was no surprise when the equaliser went in - the surprise was that it didn't arrive earlier and, indeed, it was fortunate Blues were still in the Competition at the end of the match having, at least, clung on for a replay. But, morale must have been as low as at any other time over the last few seasons because the home side had shown so much promise - so much of what they could achieve - and then capitulated. A trip to Surrey was the only success Blues could claim after such a good first half display. In fairness to South Park, they played a brilliant second half, strong anddetermined
So, a crowd of 140 assembled at the Surrey side's ground, a good proportion travelling from Essex, for what was expected to be a tough game and not really knowing what might happen. Certainly, after the second half display in the original match, Blues supporters felt like their side were the "underdogs".
Bearing in mind the original game, perhaps a big scoring match was predictable.
With the midfield marshalled excellently by Daryl Robson and Matt Hall, aerial domination from Harry Gibbs and Brendan Cavalier at the back, and the constant threat breaking through by Andy Freeman and Izzy Bademosi up front. The wide players, full backs all played their part in a stunning performance and, make no mistake, 'keeper Anthony Page was there when needed and almost became a playmaker at times with his distribution.
So, the game kicked off and Blues took early control of the game, just like the original game, and took the lead on five minutes when Luke Foster rolled in a cross from the right flank following a quick throw in.
Despite having advantage of more possession, Blues could not increase their lead and, somewhat against the run of play, Kieran Lavery equalised for the home side after 27 minutes.
Blues reacted promptly. Following good work down the left flank by Freeman, the ball was pulled back from the by-line towards the penalty spot where Hilton stroked in to regain the lead for the Blues.
As half time approached, Blues continued to press and it was Hilton again, on 39 minutes, who converted a cross, this time from the right flank, to increase the away side’s lead to 1-3.
It was pretty clear that there were more goals in this game but which way would it go? The next goal could be pivotal and, fortunately for Blues, it came their way with an early strike by Bademosi in the 51st minute which stretched Blues lead to 1-4. Surely, South Park could not come back from this?
In fact, Town upped their game and pressed, denying South Park possession and were rewarded with more goals on 58 minutes (a header by Connor Martin), and on 64 minutes (Bademosi's second).
At 1-6, surely there could be no revival from the home side. A consolation was scored in the 76th minute by Jack Mazzone but Blues' top scorer Matt Price came off the bench late on and restored Brentwood's five goal "cushion" on 82 minutes.
After a mixed start to the season, Blues are now four games unbeaten with thirteen goals scored and only five conceded in less than a handful of games.