The quick and the red

Two recipients of some of the quickest red cards in world football come face to face on Saturday at Stonebridge Road when Fleet’s goalkeeper Preston Edwards meets Bath City striker David Pratt.

Birthday boy Edwards, who spoke to today in this interview, was famously sent off after only 10 seconds against Farnborough in February 2011 after trying to get in the way of a stray Ryan Blake back pass – making him the fastest player to be dismissed in the professional game.

Bath’s Pratt, meanwhile, is arguably the outfield player to see red fastest in the semi-pro game, with a two-footed lunge after just three seconds of the British Gas Premier Division clash between Chippenham Town and Bashley back in December 2008. Since leaving Chippenham, he has played for Swindon Supermarine, Basingstoke and Maidenhead and has started four games for his new club this season, scoring twice.

Unfazed by the rivalry in prospect, the Fleet goalkeeper told, “I know I was the fastest goalkeeper to be sent off. I will have a little word in his ear on Saturday to say I nearly beat him!”

Edwards is no stranger to a sending off against Bath either, having walked in the two clubs’ last meeting when Fleet won 3-2 at Twerton Park in 2012. But as he celebrates his birthday today, an older and wiser head, with the experience of an England C captaincy behind him, he is focused solely on getting his side three more points on the board, confirming that after last weekend’s win, the squad are “just looking upwards now. It’s early days.”


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First-Team Squad