The Seedgrowers welcomed local side Witham Town to West Street for their historic debut in the FA Cup, only a mere 140 year wait! Graeme Smith introduced new signing Dexter Peter to the starting eleven, welcoming back from suspension Daniel Cunningham, with Curtis Haynes-Brown still unavailable due to injury.
The visitors, in yellow, kicked off, but it was the Seed Growers – in their usual black and red stripes – who quickly fashioned the first chance; a first minute free kick headed wide by skipper Luke Wilson. Nnamdi Nwachuku started in a hungry mood, leaving a defender for dead only to be thwarted by letting the ball run slightly too far ahead of him. A fourth minute free kick saw Wilson again get above the defence, his header just over the bar. An unfortunately early substitution followed when Wilson needed replacing by Josh Pollard in only the 6th minute.
Despite the flashes of lightning, rumble of thunder and torrential rain during the first half, the Seedgrowers had most of the early play, but the game settled into a cagey 50/50 encounter as the half progressed, hampered by the slick, wet pitch.
Witham had a good chance in the 22nd minute, a free kick and a soggy goalmouth scramble, eventually cleared away to safety: both teams were trying to play entertaining football, but, with the weather conditions persisting, players were slipping about and were concentrating on not making a mistake that could impact on the result.
A few fouls and free kicks from both sides came to nothing, and half time came with no significant moments.
The second half saw Coggeshall Town quickest to attack; a foul just outside the box (accompanied by a yellow card) resulted in a free kick from Cunningham headed by Cocklin, only for Witham keeper Collins to touch it onto the bar and out for a corner. With the Witham defence holding their nerve and Coggeshall pressuring hard, Condon managed to find space in the box and crashed a shot against the bar. A shot sent wide by Witham’s Norton followed, but the Seedgrowers were continuing to control the match. Another free kick from Cunningham had to be touched over the bar, Nwachuku then had a shot which needed two attempts to claim by Collins in the Witham goal. Condon made way for Monk in the 59th minute, keeping up the Coggeshall pressure.
The rain soaked ground, along with the obvious tensions from two teams wanting to win but not wanting to lose, gave way to some mistimed fouls (seven yellows in the whole game), with Coggeshall‘s attacking and Witham’s defending seemingly never ending.
Nwachuku created various chances before being replaced by Bishop in the 81st minute, more Coggeshall pressure came to nothing and 5 minutes added time brought the final whistle.