The FA Vase took centre stage for Step 5 and 6 clubs this weekend as the First Round Qualifying was played out up and down the country. Clubs entering the competition at this stage would need to get through nine rounds before they had the chance to play the final at Wembley in May.
For Berkshire Step 6 clubs Saturday was not a happy hunting day at as the three teams in action all suffered defeats.
Sandhurst Town were involved in an unbelievable match as they travelled to Oxfordshire to face Hellenic Division One West side Clanfield 85. The Fizzers took an early lead as Ben Bradley smashed in a free kick on 8 minutes to give them the perfect start. Sandhurst doubled their advantage when a Jamie Mitchell cross picked up Hayden Richardson who headed home, and shortly afterwards Grant Kemp made it 3-0 smashing the ball in after a scramble in the box.
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Just after the half hour the hosts grabbed a goal back, but it was the sending off of Carl Prestidge on 35 minutes that changed the game. Clanfield scored just before the break, and as Sandhurst made their final substitution at half time their Twitter feed mentioned that “Whatever happens it is going to be entertaining!”
They were not wrong but sadly none of the excitement benefited the Fizzers as Clanfield scored 5 unanswered second half goals to run out emphatic 7-3 winners.
Woodley United were due to make the trip to Wiltshire to face Hellenic Division One West side Malmesbury Victoria, but due to the unavailability of Malmesbury’s Flying Monk Ground the fixture was played at the Rivermoor. The home advantage did not help the Kestrels as the Vics took the lead on 11 minutes, the goal being given despite the assistant referee having his flag up for offside.
Midway through the first half Pele Hagger was sent off for Woodley and they fell further behind just before the break. 10 minutes from time the visitors sealed victory with the final goal of the game, making the final score Woodley United 0-3 Malmesbury Victoria.
The team that got the closest to victory on Saturday were Eversley & California who went down 1-0 away at Hellenic Division One East side Abingdon Town. The Boars looked to be heading for goalless draw and a potential replay until the 82nd minute when the hosts took the lead. Abingdon held on until full time to record a 1-0 victory and knock out Eversley.
On Sunday there was more success for Berkshire’s sides. A game of two halves at Summerleaze Village saw Holyport come from 2-0 down to beat Spartan South Midlands Division Two side Unite MK. Port were two goals down at half down and staring elimination in the face but with just over 20 minutes to go Andy Forisky reduced the deficit from a Steven Deverall through ball, and two minutes later they were level when substitute Wes Sutherland scored after a nice 1-2 with Alan Ackerman.
With 5 minutes left Holyport took the lead for the first time as Frisky beat the keeper to a long ball and finished well from a tight angle. Port will travel to Northamptonshire to face Wellingborough Town in the Second Round Qualifying.
Wokingham & Emmbrook entertained Step 5 Chipping Sodbury Town at Lowther Road. Midway through the first half the Sumas fans were sensing an upset as Jake White gave the home side the lead, but they were pegged back after half time and with the two sides being level after 90 minutes, extra time was played.
Wokingham were playing extra time with a man advantage as a Sodbury player had received his marching orders just before the 90-minute mark and with 10 minutes to go they made that advantage count when Elliot Rushforth scored from 20 yards to give the Sumas the win. Wokingham will be at home to Thornbury Town in the next round.
While the other sides were dreaming of going to Wembley, Chalvey Sports had Wembley coming to them as they hosted Wembley FC at Arbour Park. The visitors took the lead with a goal 5 minutes before the break and midway through the second half the Stabmonk’s task was made much harder as Joe Creighton was shown a red card. Chalvey were unable to overcome Wembley’s man advantage or find an equaliser and were knocked out by the Step 5 side.
Langley were involved in a back and forth game at fellow Hellenic Division One East side Long Crendon. Langley came back from a 2-0 half time deficit to level the game and to enforce extra time. The comeback was not enough and Long Crendon added two further goals to Langley’s one to leave the final score at 4-3 to the hosts.
FA Vase First Qualifying Round
Abingdon town 1-0 Eversley & California
Clanfield 85 7-3 Sandhurst Town
Malmesbury Victoria 3-0 Woodley United (played at the Rivermoor)
Chalvey Sports 0-1 Wembley FC
Holyport 3-2 Unite MK
Long Crendon 4-3 Langley
Wokingham & Emmbrook 2-1 Chipping Sodbury Town