Cambridge City deliver impressive performance to beat Halesowen Town in third qualifying round of the FA Cup
Mikey Davis and Jarid Robson fired Cambridge City into the fourth qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Halesowen Town at Bridge Road.
Davis struck after just five minutes and fellow midfielder Robson repeated the trick after the same amount of time played in the second half as the Lilywhites delivered an assured performance.
What shone through was the intensity but it was perfectly matched with its calmness - it was not forced, there was a very natural flow to their game.
It was a case of seeking out a pass to try to find space and also use the team’s pace to try to exploit Halesowen.
What made it particularly interesting was that the visitors had a similar approach.
However, City were to land the first blow after just five minutes. A good move down the right saw Ryan Sharman play in Isaac Maynard in space, and though his shot took a deflection, it ran through to an unmarked Davis at the back post to slot home.
Luke Knight then drove a shot wide from 20 yards, and four minutes later, Ryan Ingrey’s curling effort from the edge of the area was saved by Halesowen keeper Bradley Catlow, and Sharman put the rebound narrowly wide.
Jack Holmes and Simeon Cobourn looked dangerous for Halesowen, with the former looking to drop in between the lines to find space and the latter seemingly having a great turn of pace.
After a game of head tennis following a Halesowen corner, it was Cobourn that had the first the visitors’ first chance, an acrobatic effort that never really threatened.
There was a boost for City but a blow for Halesowen in the 30th minute as Cobourn was forced off through injury.
The rest of the half was as much about rigidity and stability for City, as although they were not quite as punchy in attack as in the early exchanges, they were content to defend their area with relative ease.
What has been apparent in the early stages of the campaign has been the strong spine - in this instance Jordan Gent, Knight, Sharman and Ingrey - that allows those around them to flourish.
Having reached half time maintaining their lead, City got just what was needed in the opening spell after the break.
They were on the front foot from the off with the same high level of intensity, keeping the ball on the deck and moving their opponents around.
It led to the second goal in the 51st minute.
A good move down the left saw Davis end up finding the ever-impressive Robson free outside the area, and he made no mistake, driving into the box to finish.
What was to follow was a resolute display.
With two banks of four - with the defence of Gent, Tom Wood, Yaw Ofosu and Johnny Herd particularly standing out - showing great discipline to hold their positions, it was difficult to see how Halesowen would get back into the game. Even the fouls City committed were in the ‘right’ areas of the pitch at the right time.
You could not even say they were limited to half chances, it was more a case of just attempting things for pot luck from distance, Melis Bushaj had a couple of shots that could not trouble City keeper Dan George and he pushed an attempt from Holmes wide just to be sure.
When the final whistle went after four minutes stoppage time, you could safely say that City deserved their place in the draw for the fourth qualifying round with an accomplished display.
Cambridge City: George, Ofosu, Herd, Knight, Gent, Wood, Robson, Maynard, Ingrey, Sharman, Davis.
Substitutes: Simpson (Davis, 80), Rigby (Maynard, 83), Olukanmi (Sharman, 85). Not used: Barker, Shaw, Adams, Prince-Jones.
Halesowen Town: Catlow, Wheatley, Bushaj, Carter, McCone, Parsons, Ali, Holmes, Westwood, Cobourn, Hewitt.
Substitutes: Molyneux (Cobourn, 30), Shaw (Carter, 55), Yates (Westwood, 55). Not used: Forsythe, Ward.
Referee: Farai Hallam.