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LITTLEHAMPTON TOWN v HANWORTH VILLA

Saturday 19th September 2020 @ 3pm
Buildbase FA Vase – 3rd Round

This was already going to be a tough enough task, away to a team very much in form, when things got made more difficult when our supporters were prevented from travelling. On the day things got worse. A strong wind, rain and a boggy pitch made it very difficult to play the type of football we favour, but the boys dug deep and eventually scraped through against a very gritty opponent.

Things started well as we took a 2-goal lead, both goals scored by players making their debuts for the team. The first, scored by Dan Thompson in the 18th minute, was a header for close in that bounced down off the line. Our 2nd goal came in the 30th minute as the result of nice football involving Elliott Simpson and Sam Merson which ended with a fierce shot from Mershach being parried by the Littlehampton keeper, new boy Joe Leslie was in hand to tap home.

After the 2nd goal we seemed to think that the tie was over, but our hosts had different ideas. They immediately started to apply pressure on our goal but our defence, with Bussy in good form in goal, continued to prove difficult to break down. Just when it looked as though we were going to make it to half time, “The Golds” were issued with the first of what was to be 2 contentious penalties when a long ball was put into our penalty area. Jamie Thoroughgood won the header but was adjudged to have pushed the centre forward to the floor in the process. Looked extremely soft from the line but the resulting kit was dispatched to make the score 1-2 into the break.

The 2nd half proved to be a new experience for us this season as we had to spend the majority of it defending our goal. Littlehampton were fired up, competing for every ball and generally giving our boys very little time to settle and making us rely on the occasional break.

Our defence has played well all season and with Bussy in unbeatable form they continued to frustrate our opponents. With the clock ticking down though we fell victim to another dubious penalty decision. This time a shot came back of the bar as the forwards tried to force the rebound in the ref deemed that Jamie had prevented the ball crossing the line with his hand. Anybody standing on the side-line, probably with a better view than the ref, could clearly see that the ball hit him on the chest. None the less a penalty was given, and scored, and Jamie was given a red card. Full time 2 each and a penalty shootout.

Littlehampton went first and scored with their first two pens. Sam Merson and Bernie Tanner replied for us. The hosts 3rd penalty flew over the bar and MK scored to put us 2-3 up. Sandwiched between two successful pens for the home side was a successful attempt by Ben Merson, meaning that with the scores at 4 each it was down to Meshach Williams to win the tie for us. The pressure from the home supporters made no difference as Shach smashed the ball home to put us into the hat for the next round.

A tough game and a great effort from our hosts. Good luck to them for the rest of the season.