Metropolitan Police FC crash out of FA Cup as unbeaten run ends

Metropolitan Police FC crashed out of the FA Cup last night, as their 12-game unbeaten run came to an end in a third round qualifier replay against St Albans City.

The club has form in the FA Cup, having reached the first round proper five times, most recently in 2018.

This year the Blues’ run in this competition has been hard-fought, with both the second and third round matches going to replays after initial draws.

But whilst Metropolitan Police FC managed to best Farnborough on Tuesday 21 September to earn their place against St Albans City, the additional minutes played by the team showed on the score-line, with the match ending 3-1 to St Albans.

In a post-match interview, published on the club’s Instagram, the manager, Gavin Macpherson, was clear-eyed about the defeat.

He said: “It’s two games that have been tremendously tight, but St Albans were worthy of their lead.

“I’ve told the boys well done. It’s the end of an unbeaten run, but it’s against a Conference South side, and possibly that’s easier to palate.”

Macpherson has history with the club as before joining as manager in 2018, he had played for the team. 

The team’s unusual name stems from its founding: the club was established by the Metropolitan Police in 1919, even though the team now plays home games outside the force’s jurisdiction, in East Molesey. 

Initially its purpose was to be solely staffed by officers and staff civilians, which was the case until time off to play was no longer sanctioned by the organisation. 

The reality of this fact surfaced in 2012, which was the last time a serving officer, PC Craig Brown, ran out for the side. 

That year, the club reached the first round proper of the FA Cup, but by the time the club qualified for the match, Brown had used all of his allocated annual leave. 

The Blues lost 2-1.

The ties remain, however loosely, as the club is partially funded by the Metropolitan Police service-lottery set up in 1964, and with a touch of irony, the team runs out to games at Imber Court to The Clash’s ‘I Fought the Law’.  

But the song’s message rang hollow during the opening fixture against St Albans City on Saturday 2 September. 

REPLAY REQUIRED: Soaked-to-the-bone Metropolitan Police FC and St Albans City go toe-to-toe in their first third round qualifier at Imber Court. Credit: Lallie Doyle

The match saw an impressive fan turnout in the driving rain to watch the two teams fighting to break through, but the score-line remained resolutely 0-0.  

A groundsman repositioning divots in the increasingly sodden pitch at half-time underscored the chasm between clubs at either end of the FA Cup competition, and the importance of the financial aspect of participating, alongside the prestige. 

During this year’s run, the Met has netted more than £8,800 in prize money.  

A draw heralded the replay, which forced an away journey to Clarence Park on Tuesday 5 October, and the ensuing defeat. 

Now, the team and its manager have to contemplate a congested upcoming fixtures list that numerous FA Cup replays have forced. 

But Macpherson remains optimistic and added: “It’s been a tough start to the season, but the players have come up trumps and risen to the challenge.”

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