Ian Hart: More questions than answers after FA Cup exit

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There’s a good chance I will throttle the next person who comes up to me and says they’re pleased the Albion got knocked out of the FA Cup at Lincoln on Saturday.

Granted, I advocated an exit from the FA Cup at some point in order to concentrate on the more pressing matter of promotion to the Premier League but it was the manner of the defeat on Saturday that annoyed me.

Take nothing away from the Imps, who I wish all the best in their fifth round tie at Burnley. But the exit at Sincil Bank was frankly embarrassing and I stated in this column last week a giant killing of this magnitude was always going to throw up more questions than answers.

Albion-wise, I’m still technically in a parallel universe this week as I watched Match of the Day on Saturday night but switched off when Richie Towell put the Albion 1-0 up on 24 minutes.

From the various reports, I understand all three goals were errors and at times, to quote a couple of fans who travelled to the game, the Albion side looked uninterested.

My concern, and that of a large number of fans I’ve spoken to, is the strength of the Albion ‘second string’. It does beg the question that if they’re not good enough to win at a non-league club, would they be able to cut the mustard if called upon in the top flight?

An encouraging sign however is the reaction from manager Chris Hughton and thankfully any potential throttling of fellow supporters will have expired by Sunday afternoon, as the Albion now have back-to-back away games against Huddersfield (tonight) and Brentford on Sunday afternoon.

The main piece of transfer window business for the club, i.e. the permanent acquisition of Glenn Murray, is a huge shot in the arm for the Albion, although somewhat ironic as the player Gus Poyet deemed better than Muzza back in 2011, Craig Mackail-Smith, re-joined Peterborough, the club we paid £3.5million, on loan from Luton where he can’t currently get a game!

When they write the second hundred years of the Albion’s history, I’m sure Poyet’s ‘expert’ opinion will be seriously questioned.

But that was then and this is now. A four-point haul from the upcoming away games will see the Albion back on track and the FA Cup nightmare will be consigned to the history books. But unfortunately, like the 4-0 humbling by Walton and Hersham in 1973 and the Sudbury penalty shootout in 1996, it will never be forgotten.

Regrettably, there’s been more vandalism on Broadwater Green, with the ropes which protect the cricket square cut.

It’s a senseless act which has no monetary gain and I struggle to see what satisfaction there is but it results in more expenditure and additional man hours from Broadwater CC, an organisation which is funded purely on player subscriptions and local sponsorship.

It’s not quite as bad as our County League colleagues at Aldwick, who had their pavilion gutted by arsonists at the weekend and as a gesture we have sent them some spare furniture we had to help their recovery, but it’s still extremely annoying.

We won’t let the vandals win. Broadwater CC is not just about cricket, it’s part of the community, so if the ‘rope cutter’ is reading this, best make sure we don’t catch you next time!

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