Sat. 19th Sept. FA Vase East Cowes Athletic 1 Westbury United 2
THE first qualifying round of this season’s FA Vase competition saw three Wiltshire teams drawn away against opposition from the Isle of Wight.
Westbury United were drawn against East Cowes Vistoria, Devizes Town were drawn against Cowes Sports and they both kicked off at 3pm on the Saturday. Calne Town were drawn against Newport (IoW) but due to them sharing a ground with East Cowes Victoria, their game was played on the Sunday.
The game got under way and it was clear from early on that Westbury were the stronger team, but they wasted a hatful of chances and missed a couple of penalties to make sure the game was tense and nervy until the closing stages.
At 14 minutes Biddiscombe was brought down as he quickly changed direction and dashed into the penalty area, Stradling stepped up and blasted his penalty high over the bar. Stradling quickly had another chance as he sped into the inside right channel, but his shot was wide of the target.
By the 25-minute mark Stradling was there again, this time on the end of a Ricky Hulbert cross but his header went over; on another day he could’ve had three goals. Minutes later a long clearance was chased down by Greenslade, it looked like he handled it to help himself past the Westbury defence, his chance was only cleared as far as Hayward who fired the ball into the net to give East Cowes Victoria the lead.
Halftime came and East Cowes Victoria still had their one goal advantage despite Westbury dominating for long periods.
Early in the second half Hutchings and Ricky Hulbert combined well on the right but Thomson couldn’t get his shot on target when he received the ball. Second half substitutes Robinson and Sammy Jordan created another good chance, Robinson heading across the goal to Jordan but Jordan couldn’t generate enough power to force the ball over the line. Westbury’s second penalty was awarded on 72 minutes when Stradling had his heels clipped in the area, Hutchings stepped up and smacked his shot off the post. With Westbury still trailing, Jordan Pinder was introduced a minute later.
Finally in the 84th minute Westbury managed to hit the net. Sammy Jordan skipped past a challenge from the wide left position, wrapped his right foot around the ball and curled it into the far top corner, an unstoppable strike to get Westbury back into the tie.
With no extra time in this season’s FA Vase, Westbury were staring down the barrel of a penalty shootout if the scores were level at fulltime. Fortunately it didn’t come to a shootout, but Westbury were awarded their third penalty on the afternoon when Ricky Hulbert got on the end of a pass from Hutchings and was bundled over in the area. Pinder stepped up and placed the ball low to the keeper’s left, the keeper got his hand to it but there was enough power for it to continue into the net. The cheers from the Westbury travelling supporters was more of relief than triumph; it had been a tense afternoon, but Westbury dug deep and made sure they progressed to the next round, which is away against Horndean on 10th October.
Westbury Team: Bowden, Hutchings, J.Gregory, S.Gregory, Price, S.Hulbert, Biddiscombe, Thomson, R.Hulbert, Stradling, J.Jordan. Subs: Robinson, S.Jordan, Pinder (used) Griffiths, D.Jordan (unused)
Westbury Star Man: Hutchings