Strangest pre-season game ever? Marlow FC take on Kuwait

Kuwait
Kuwait beat Marlow 3-2 in their friendly in Berkshire

This could be the most unexpected encounter of a pre-season that has already seen Accrington Stanley beat Marseille.

Kuwait, the world's 156th best national team, took on eighth tier Marlow FC in a friendly at Bisham Abbey on Friday.

And the Buckinghamshire club, who play in the Isthmian League South Central Division, managed a very creditable 3-2 defeat against a side that reached the World Cup in 1982.

Kuwait, the tiny oil-rich state on the Persian Gulf, are in England for a training camp before the West Asian Championship in Iraq later this month.

"Maybe Marlow will be able to enter the next World Cup," joked club chairman Terry Staines, who said the game came "out of the blue".

He told BBC Sport: "We didn't have anywhere near our best team out, while they had a large squad. We went 1-0 down after a few minutes and I was a bit worried. We got it back to 2-1 at half-time, they then scored their third and we got a penalty. The last 15-20 minutes we were trying to get another.

"We are only two weeks into training, it was a very nice occasion for the club and served a purpose in giving us good match practice."

This may have been the first time Marlow have played an international team, but this was by no means the biggest game in their 149 year history - they were FA Cup semi-finalists in 1882 and lost to Tottenham in the third round in the 1993.

There will be little time for Marlow to reflect on the loss to Kuwait as they are due to play Eversley and California FC on Saturday in another friendly.

Kuwait also took on Berkshire non-league club Hungerford Town in another friendly on Saturday, also at Bisham Abbey, before they face Marlow's near-neighbours Maidenhead United of the National League on Tuesday.

Kuwait
A plaque presented to Marlow chairman Terry Staines

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