WITHAM Town booked an FA Cup second qualifying round home tie with Hornchurch after winning 2-1 at Kirkley and Pakefield, writes JIM PURTILL.

Town made hard work of their win but deserved to go through.

They were dominant over the 90 minutes and had too much quality all over the pitch for the hosts.

Witham started strongly and two shots from the impressive Liam Whipps went over the bar in the first ten minutes.

Jeff Cobblah soon proved a handful for the home defence with his pace and movement.

In the first ten minute he was denied by goalkeeper Kingsley Barnes, who smothered the ball from a header. Such was Witham’s early dominance that Kirkley and Pakefield found it difficult to cross the halfway line, as the visitors attacked non stop.

It came as no surprise when Witham took a 15th-minute lead when the alert Cobblah scored from a cross from the right.

Ronnie Bates shot wide twice and Rash Salau went close for Witham, for whom Cobblah came close to adding a second goal when he almost converted a Ronnie Bates cross, in the 27th minute.

At this point, the hosts had not created a significant chance but they snatched a shock equaliser two minutes later.

Right winger Harlen Roberts broke free and slipped the ball past the advancing Witham keeper, Matt Smith.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Encouraged by the goal, Kirkley and Pakefield moved forward more confidently.

Kieran Underdown had a good chance but shot wildly wide but Witham regained the lead three minutes after half-time.

Whipps' excellent free-kick was headed in at close range by Salau.

The Witham midfield regained their control with the evergreen Gaz Dauti asserting himself and Ollie Bell proved a constant threat with overlapping runs on the right. Witham pressed strongly and their defending from the front prevented the hosts from creating significant attacking moves.

Arnold Mengi added flair to Witham’s attacking options when he came off the bench in the 69th minute.

His clever pass found Bates in front of goal but Barnes was on hand again to stop Kirley and Pakefield from falling further behind. Although little was seen of the home attack in the second half, substitute Caleb Gelb came close to scoring twice in the last 15 minutes for the hosts.

Witham’s superiority was not reflected by the scoreline but manager Garry Kimble will be happy enough to be in the next round.