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FA Cup: tension builds for the Bricks

Hadley FC manager praises fans as non-league club prepare for first round qualifying stage clash

06 September, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Hadley FC – nicknamed ‘the Bricks’ – will face Leverstock Green this Saturday

THE mighty Hadley FC are hoping that their travelling army will be the 12th man come Saturday afternoon when their FA Cup journey continues away at Leverstock Green.

Hadley are based in the heart of Barnet, but with the core of the team coming from Camden and Islington, coach Anthony Clark, who grew up in Tufnell Park and now lives in Highgate, is calling on local fans of the grassroots game to turn out in force for the 3pm kick-off and cheer on his team in the first round qualifying stage of the famous competition.

In the previous round Hadley, who are nicknamed “the Bricks” because their stadium in Brickfield Lane is built on the site of a business where bricks were made and sold, beat Brackley Town Saints 1-0 in a replay thanks to a sharp finish from Shaz Anwar.

The midfielder, who lives in Highbury, epitomised the team effort put in by the Bricks over the two games when, in the 84th minute, he reacted first to a loose ball in the box and smashed home “an adrenaline-provoking” late winner.

Anthony said the win was his “proudest moment so far” as Hadley manager, adding that the noise from the stands helped them get over the line.

“Our fans were absolutely brilliant. They made plenty of noise and really got behind the team,” he said. “They were so loud – it would be great to have a similar turnout this Saturday.

“It was such an intense game, both legs were. To be honest, in the first leg at their place, I would say we didn’t have a single attempt on goal in the entire 90 minutes. But the way we defended as a team was outstanding. Our goalkeeper, Ben Goode, also made three or four fantastic saves, one of which even now I don’t know how he stopped it.”

The Bricks started their FA Cup journey with a 2-0 victory over Fairford Town in the extra preliminary round – a win that netted them £2,250 in prize money. Their preliminary round win over National League North side Brackley Town Saints added a further £2,890 – vital unbudgeted funds for any club.

They have been rewarded with a trip to Hemel Hampstead where they will tackle Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division rivals Leverstock Green – a tie in which the victors will walk away with a whopping £6,000.

“It’s an unbelievable draw,” said Anthony, who runs the Bricks alongside former Highbury Grove pupil Junior Matti, who now lives in Holloway.

“We could have drawn a side from two tiers above us, which would have been an almost impossible challenge, but instead we were drawn against one of the few teams left from our league. I would imagine for the same reasons Leverstock Green are equally as delighted with the draw.

“It presents us with a great opportunity. I would say it’s a 50-50 game – perhaps they have the slightest of advantages because they’re at home. It certainly won’t be an easy afternoon, but we’re all really looking forward to it.”

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