Haringey Borough enjoy ‘unbelievable’ night despite FA Cup exit
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
The financial reward the Coles Park club have received from this historic FA Cup run has set them up for a long time
Tom Loizou admitted it was unbelievable to see Haringey Borough’s Coles Park home so packed for Friday night’s FA Cup first round tie with AFC Wimbledon.
A crowd of 2,710 was recorded for the match on a cold, windy and wet night in north London in front of the BBC Two cameras.
Mitchell Pinnock’s 90th-minute strike gave the Dons a much-needed 1-0 victory, but the Bostik Premier club were heroes before a ball had been kicked.
This tie alone had earned them at least £75,000 while the run itself to the first round had pocked the north Londoners over £50,000 and the club’s previous best attendance was 1,133 for the FA Trophy first round clash with Leyton Orient in December 2017.
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“Oh my god the crowd were unbelievable and to actually have that many people at Haringey Borough, I still can’t believe it,” Loizou said.
“Eight years ago we had two supporters and one died in my first year and the other died a couple of years ago and back in them days we couldn’t even buy supporters.”
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On the result, he added: “What can you do? We are four divisions below them and it is like Stevenage playing Manchester City.
“Do you think they would have got a result like we did? No, and I watched Stevenage get smashed 4-0 with my own eyes on Tuesday (in the EFL Cup) and we were able to give Wimbledon a much better game. I am so proud.”
Pajetet impressed throughout; coming for crosses despite the strong wind and wet conditions and his handling was impeccable.
He denied Toby Sibbick, Pinnock and Tom Soares in the second half before he was eventually beaten on the stroke of full time.
Jake Jervis’ cross was headed only as far as ex-Dover Athletic attacker Pinnock and his shot deflected off home captain David Olufemi and looped over Pajetet and into the net to break the hearts of the Borough team and their supporters.
It literally took seconds for the Coles Park faithful to shake off the disappointment, though, and begin chanting their love for the players.
Things might have been different had Joe Staunton’s strike in the 72nd minute not been ruled out for offside, but it seemed the right decision after the midfielder had swapped passes with Michael Ademiluyi.
Loizou added: “We got the ball in the back of the net, but it was offside and it was offside and when they got the ball in the back of our net it counted.
“I thought the referee was not too kind to us to say the least, he could have given us a couple more decisions, but it never happened.”
Borough are now preparing for the bread and butter of the Bostik Premier with leaders Tonbridge Angels set to visit Coles Park on Monday.
A crowd of around 200 will be expected, but Loizou wants his players to produce the level of performance they delivered against the Dons on a more regular basis now.
He said: “It is a chance to bounce back I guess, I will have to get them motivated, but they motivate me sometimes and then I motivate them.
“Hopefully we do the business because we should be beating opposition like Tonbridge after that performance against Wimbledon. Knowing our players like I do, anything could happen on Monday night!”