Staines Town v Posh 2nd Rd 1 Dec 2007

Venue: Wheatsheaf Park, Staines

Attendance: 2,460 (353 Posh)

Score: Peterborough Utd 5 v Staines Town 0

Referee: Mick Russell.

For Staines, massive disappointment; for Peterborough, exciting possibilities.

Such was the initial result of an old fashioned, exhilarating FA Cup second round tie which diverted a rainswept crowd of 2,460 including Sir Alex Ferguson. The Manchester United manager was present to see how his son Darren’s side would fare at the Wheatsheaf Lane ground where, just 10 days earlier, fellow League Two outfit Stockport County had exited the Cup after a penalty shoot-out.

Ferguson junior admitted afterwards that he hoped for an away draw against his dad’s side in the third round “I’d be foolish to say we don’t want them” especially as he had taken his players around Old Trafford on Tuesday and told them they could be there in the next round.

They will indeed travel but for Old Trafford, read Layer Road, home of Championship side Colchester United. As Darren’s dad once said: “Football. Bloody hell.”

Colchester should already be laying plans to halt the Cup goal scoring phenomenon that is Craig Mackail-Smith, who went one better than his first round hat-trick on Saturday and might easily have had five goals had he not directed a shot inexplicably wide of an empty net.

The 23 year-old forward, a £125,000 signing from Dagenham and Redbridge on 29 January, had risked his death of cold after the match by standing around in his bare feet as he told reporters he was hoping either for a tie with United or his hometown club, Watford. Mackail-Smith’s smart performance had to earn him the man of the match award, although that distinction could equally well have gone to Shaun Allaway, Staines’s former England under-19 keeper.

The 24 year-old has found himself operating at Ryman Premier League level after a succession of loans to lower League clubs. Against Peterborough he repeated his heroics of the previous round, effectively preventing the visitors achieving double figures.

For Staines, who contested the FA Cup first round in 1879 and 1880 in their previous incarnation as St Peter’s Institute, and made another appearance in 1984, the second round was unknown territory, and numerous fans entered it boldly in the yellow colours of Ali G, supposed celebrity fan, having taken advantage of the club’s bright idea of selling off the outfits used by the players for a national- paper photo shoot.

In 1975, extraordinarily, Staines had beaten Italian Amateur Cup winners Banco di Roma in a two-legged final one of which was played in front of 70,000 fans in the Olympic stadium to win the Barassi Cup. Any rising hopes of a similar landmark Cup success were effectively ended within 16 minutes, however, as Peterborough established a two-goal lead which effectively decided the tie.

Mackail-Smith’s first strike came after 10 minutes with a drive into the roof of the net after Chris Whelpdale’s shot had been cleared off the line by Dave Sargent, the estate agent who had scored the decisive penalty against Stockport.

Six minutes later his forward partner Aaron McLean drove home a loose ball after Allaway had parried his first shot, and when Mackail-Smith made it 3-0 in the 23rd minute it was definitely game over. Two more Mackail-Smith strikes after the break only deepened the prevailing mood of fatalism.

“They got slaughtered today,” said one Staines fan to his son a the final whistle. “But never mind.”


The Posh: Mark Tyler, Craig Morgan, Chris Westwood, Charlie Lee, Micah Hyde (sub Dean Keates), Aaron McLean, George Boyd (sub Jeff Hughes), Craig Makail-Smith, Jamie Day, Chris Whelpdale (sub Josh Low) and Claude Gnapka.

Unused subs: Rene Howe and James McKeown.

Staines Town: Shaun Allaway, Marcel Nugent (sub Adam Thompson), Dave Sargent, Danny Gordon, Matt Flitter, Gareth Risbridger, Lewis Cook (sub Howard Newton), Adrian Toppin, Marc Charles-Smith (sub Victor Asombang), Mark Nwokeji and Dwayne Clark.

Unused subs: Andre Scarlett and James Courtnage.

Goal scorers: The Posh – Craig Makail-Smith (4) 10 mins, 23 mins, 53 mins & 62 mins and Aaron McLean 18 mins.