After Saturday's 3-3 draw at Southwood, the Rams played with great heart to win a challenging replay at Egham.
Traffic didn't help and the Rams only arrived less than an hour before kickoff, and the Sarnies were quickest off the mark with Louis Stead volleying in a second ball in the 2nd minute. An Alfie Paxman free kick from 30yds was met by the head of Ollie Gray and then flicked past 'keeper Patrick Ohman by George Crimmen 7 minutes later (pictured). The Rams kept the pressure up and in the 11th minute Luke Wheatley released Rory Smith but the 'keeper got there first. In the 17th minute a cross by Paxman from the left was just beyond Smith's reach, while on 18 Paxman got his first when he turned in Tom Chapman's low cross from the right in a move that started with Joe Kane. From the restart Ryan De Battista made space for a free header on the Rams' goal, but put the ball over, and 5 minutes later another Paxman cross was headed goalwards by Adam Woollcott, but Ohman pushed it wide of the far post. In the 26th minute Paxman broke up the left, and then curled the ball around the advancing Ohman but it shaved the outside of the upright. In the 32nd minute an Egham corner was partially cleared by Luke Watkins' punch under pressure, but Alex Nolan volley back in from the edge of the area that was blocked on the line by Dan Lawrence. Another Paxman freekick on 34 from 25 yards but offside was given despite Egham defenders at the back stick, while 3 minutes later Brendan Matthew volleyed from only 10 yards, but this was blocked on the Rams' goal line.
In the 2nd half the rain set in, and while the Rams continued to make the most chances, the Sarnies had more of the ref's decisions. Ten minutes in and Paxman was hauled down on the break but the ref allowed play to continue and Smith's shot was just wide, then a minute later Paxman was attacking the goal again and evaded the 'keeper's challenge but Lewis Cole remained prostate and although the ball ended up in the back of the net the goal did not stand. For the next few minutes the midfield battle ended up with a number of decisions going the hosts' way even when it was the Rams on the deck. On the hour mark an Egham freekick from 40 yds went over the wall but was gathered well by Watkins, and 8 minutes later Daniel Julienne broke through and volleyed wee, but again Watkins was up to the task. The home side did a double substitution with 20 to go, introducing John Roberts and Aaron Berry, anf three minutes later the Rams brought Jake Munday on forDan Lawrence. Five minutes later and first Chapman and then Smith were brought down respectively as they released the ball in the same attack, and even after consulting his assistant the ref couldn't decide which Egham player had been involved in each offence and so stuck to the maxim 'if in doubt give nowt'. But in the 80th another great run by Rory Smith saw him put the ball through to Paxman who went 1-on-1 with Ohman and slotted the ball through the keeper's legs for his 2nd and the Rams 3rd. Seven minutes later and Smith ran through and shot, and although Ohman got down quickly to block, Paxman was following in behind and rifled past the keeper to make it 4-1. The Rams now introduced Jack Penny for Paxman and Billy Munday for Woollcott as the clock ran down, but Egham got a consolation when an injury time corner was turned into the Rams goal.
The Rams' trip to play National League South Chelmsford City on 16 September was the lads' just reward, the first time the Rams had been there since the Ryman Premier days.
Rams: Luke Watkins, Joe Kane, Jake Mackenzie, George Crimmen, Luke Wheatley, Ollie Gray, Tom Chapman, Adam Woollcott (Billy Munday), Rory Smith, Dan Lawrence (Jake Munday), Alfie Paxman (Jack Penny). Unused Subs: Dan Keyte, Jacob Mensah, TJ Jadama, James King.
Updated 13:40 - 11 Jan 2018 by Edward Lucas