By John Graham
23 October 2022
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Baldock draw 2-2 in normal time and then win 4-3 on penalties and progress to the second round.

Baldock Town 2 v 2 Benfleet
Baldock win 4-3 on penalties

Baldock started brightly enough and were well on top in the first period of the game with most of the action happening on the Baldock right with Furness linking well with Reynolds and Abe to cause all sorts of problems for Benfleet. All that was lacking was some finishing in the middle when the ball was crossed into the box.
In 26 mins the Benfleet defence was caught square close to the half way line and a neat ball through sent Abe away and clear. He made progress to the box and then confidently shot past the advancing Benfleet Keeper.
1-0 to Baldock.
Five mins later Benfleet had a rare opportunity when they won a free kick 22 yards out. The kick was well taken and went over the wall. Dhesi must have been unsighted as he never moved. 1-1.
Baldock continued to apply pressure but never really looked like scoring and it ended 1-1 at half time.
For some reason Baldock didn’t show up for the start of the second half and were playing at Benfleet speed. This greatly encouraged Benfleet who then went and scored the simplest of goals in 55 mins. It nearly got a whole lot worse a couple of mins later when we gave away a cheap free kick some 25 yards out. It was a well taken kick but Dhesi pulled off a great save by turning the kick onto the post. If we had lost that one it would have been all over.
It wasn’t until 75 mins before Baldock picked up the pace and started to press down the left side this time. It took until 88 mins and a few corners before Baldock were able to equalise through a corner and a great header from Reynolds which beat the Benfleet Keeper to his far post. Boyejo then worked his way across the line and had a decent looking shot but it was deflected wide. Reynolds then had another good chance just before the end when he rose to meet yet another corner but sent this one high and wide.
This was one of those ‘Get out of Jail’ moments as the game finished shortly after our equaliser and given that this was a Cup Tie it went straight to penalties.
Baldock had the first penalty and the Baldock fans behind the goal provided the necessary encouragement, or otherwise, as deemed appropriate to the penalty taker.
First up, Ajong, and he despatched his penalty confidently. Dhesi then saved the Benfleet penalty.
Boyejo also scored confidently and so did Benfleet.
Dominick Robertson converted very well and Dhesi almost stopped the Benfleet attempt.
Owen Robertson blasted his penalty in and Benfleet got theirs.
Baldock 4-3 up for the last pair of penalties.
Reynolds had the last penalty and I would have picked him to do the job - unfortunately he sent it high over the bar.
I have to say that Dhesi looked very confident throughout these penalties and was very active on the line prior to each Benfleet kick. He was definitely enjoying himself - probably the only one. He almost got to this last one as well but the post got it instead and it rebounded clear.
Baldock win 4-3 on penalties.
Baldock were lucky to get away with a win in what was a lack-lustre performance but a win is a win and we are on to the second round of the Vase. The second round is on Saturday 12th November, the draw has still to be made.
Team; Dhesi (GK), Furness (C), Diallo, Rolland, King, Robertson, Turner, Ajong, Abe, Kane, Reynolds. Subs; Archer, Boyejo, Lamond, Wilson, Kursorgbor, Robertson.

By J.Graham, Baldock fan and as such could be slightly biased but events have been interpreted and reported as I saw them.

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