FA Vase First Qualifying Round
AFC Stoneham 3
(Sergio Caballero, Chris Manning, Liam Magee)
Malmesbury Victoria 0
Attendance: 40 (approx. headcount)
With a free Saturday and endless possibilities for a game I was left a little confused about where I should go for game. AFC Wimbledon was my pick of the bunch from the Football League as I try and complete the 92 but as the weekend drew near I fancied sticking close to home.
With a list of nearly 20 games that I could go to, AFC Stoneham got in touch to ask if I could report on their first ever FA Vase game. They had published my last blog post (link below) in their programme from the opening game of the season so asked if I could help out again.
In fact, it was also a Terrace Traveller first as I have never actually been to an FA Vase game before (I think!).
This was my third trip to the Elliotts Arena, most recently being in July in their friendly with neighbours Eastleigh.
To see my comments on the ground, head over to my previous article ‘Travelling To- AFC Stoneham’ detailing my last trip to the Elliotts Arena in July 2016.
AFC Stoneham cruised into the next round of the FA Vase with a 3-0 victory over Western League Division One side Malmesbury Victoria in their competition debut. Goals from Sergio Caballero, Chris Manning and Liam Magee set up a second qualifying round game with Longlevens AFC.
Vics started the game brightly, boosted by their rowdy following who were enjoying their Vase away day in the Hampshire rain.
Shane Bumphrey had a great chance in the opening ten minutes when he fired a shot straight at ‘keeper Sam Whieldon. Vics were enjoying most of the play as Stoneham took a while to get into the game.
Bumphrey went down minutes later in the box looking for a penalty but the referee deemed Ben Clarke’s challenge fair and play carried on.
Stoneham’s first real chance of the game fell to Terry New after some good interplay with Manning but the winger couldn’t direct his effort towards goal.
Andy Baker could have put the away side ahead when he fluffed his shot into virtually an open net.
Vics were then forced into an early change when ‘keeper Josh Langley went off injured midway through the first half with a back injury and was replaced by Joe Snell.
Stoneham did manage to take the lead against the run of play, but Sergio Caballero nearly messed up the chance. Duncan Bray had switched to the right wing and swung in a cross which found the forward in the box who lifted it over the ‘keeper but he needed to head the ball into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Stoneham shot stopper Whieldon was unbelievable to keep his side ahead when he produced a fine double save that some of the best goalkeepers in the world would have been impressed with. He did brilliantly to deny Bumphrey before scrambling down low into the corner to keep out Jamie Parker’s rebound.
Ashley Ledger thought he had doubled the lead for the Purples just before the break but his long-range effort clipped the top of the cross bar.
Malmesbury Vics couldn’t have wished for a worse start to the second half when they found themselves 2-0 down within minutes of the restart. Chris Manning broke away on the left wing and moved at pace into the box before chipping the ball over the onrushing Snell.
Both teams struggled for quality in the final third in the wet conditions but Malmesbury did manage to cause a few problems when Clarke had to be alert to clear off the line from Bumphrey’s effort.
Vics sub Jon Clarke then blazed one over the bar as the away side looked to be letting the game slip away from them. Both sides were in desperate need of some shooting practice as Manning put one wide for the home side before Baker failed to get a touch to convert Dan Cole’s effort.
Whieldon was on hand again to keep his clean sheet intact when he got down low at the post to deny Bumphrey. The big number nine then completely missed the ball in the box from Parker’s cross as the game wound down to the final minutes.
Stoneham substitute Liam Magee put the game to bed in the last minute with a lovely taken lob on the half volley catching the ‘keeper too far off his line. Whieldon had taken a free kick deep in the defensive half for Andy Turner to flick on to Magee in acres of space to complete the scoring and put the Purples in the next round.
2016/17 Games: 26
2016/17 Grounds: 26
Total Grounds Visited: 167