FA Vase First Round

Romsey Town 2

(Rian Jima-Otero, Dan Fox)

Portland United 3

(Tom Richardson x2, Mark Buckler)

Attendance: 101

Bypass Ground

Having been to five games in five days last Saturday-Wednesday I hadn’t given much thought to where I would be going today. I nearly went to Winchester City reserves on Thursday night but bailed on the last minute, a good decision in the end as the score came in at 0-0, phew!

As for today I had drawn up a 12 strong list of games that I could attend starting from the Championship all the way down to the Southampton Saturday League. My original plan was Portsmouth against Notts County, but with three out of four former Crewe players out injured, I still could have got a free ticket but decided not to bother with my fifth trip to Fratton Park.

Brentford and Barnsley was my Championship pick but a full day out in London awaits next week as I make the trip to Leyton Orient versus Crewe. The National League tie between Woking and Barrow was odds on favourite when I woke up but not wanting to drive very far I scrapped all former thoughts and ended up two minutes down the road for Romsey’s FA Vase game with Portland United.

This is my third trip to the Bypass Ground with Town winning both games so I was hoping that my closest team could make it a hat-trick of wins in my presence and progress to the next round against last seasons Wessex Division One champions.

The Ground

Since starting this blog at the beginning of the season, I have been to Romsey Town once, their league opener against Folland Sports.

Please visit ‘Travelling To- Romsey Town’ for my comments on their stadium.

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The Game

Tom Richardson scored a brace to send Portland United through to the next round of the FA Vase, despite a spirited comeback from Romsey Town.

Rian Jima-Otero pulled a goal back just before the break but as the home side went searching for an equaliser, Portland substitute Mark Buckler won the game for United despite Dan Fox grabbing a goal for Romsey with virtually the last kick of the game.

The early kick off time of 2 o’clock had caught out a few fans and seemingly the home side as well as Portland dominated the early stages of the game. Floodlight failure in the days leading to the fixture had been the reason for the early start but Portland didn’t let the long journey phase them.

Ed Bastick had a great chance to put the visitors in the lead within three minutes but he was unable to keep his cushioned volley down as it sailed over the bar from close range. Jamie Beasley then had a good chance but he headed wide as Portland asserted their dominance on the game.

The match produced its first goal on 21 minutes when Ash Smith played a little ball across the box to Richardson who had a simple task of tapping the ball into the net.

Richardson made it two in four minutes when he doubled United’s lead converting another low cross, this time from Beasley as Romsey found themselves with a lot to do if they were going to take anything from the game. Romsey’s Jake Swift had pushed on and lost the ball just inside the attacking half, leaving plenty of space for Beasley to exploit and pick out the perfect ball to Richardson.

Romsey’s first real chance of the game came from a Tom Donaldson cross which zipped across the box just out of reach from the outstretched Swift and cleared out for a corner which amassed to nothing.

United striker Richardson had the ball in the back of the net for his hat trick when his soft header trickled past Jordan Westbrook from Bastick’s cross, but the linesman had his flag up to save Romsey’s blushes and deny the striker the match ball.

Town did pull one back just before half time when Jima-Otero went chasing after a ball over the top and as ‘keeper Sean Willington came out of his box to clear, he clattered into his own defender Ross Carmichael allowing Town striker Jima-Otero to pass the ball into the open net whilst Willington and Carmichael remained in a heap on the floor.

Andy Samuels made a double change for the home side bringing on Dan Fox and Dan Steer who replaced Swift and John Mulhern. The home side came out fighting, buoyed by their goal just before the break as they went hunting for the ultimate comeback.

Jima-Otero missed a great chance to pull things level putting a simple shot wide after Willington spilled Donaldson’s shot from the edge of the box.

With Romsey on the attack, United hit them on the break but after doing well to carry the ball into the box, Beasley couldn’t get his shot off taking a deflection out for a corner.

Zak Pickett then showed a defenders touch in the opposition box when he sent a volley whistling over the bar from two yards out after United had failed to deal with a corner and Willington had failed to keep a firm grip on Fox’s header.

United were relying on the counter attack and it worked when substitute Mark Buckler put the game to bed when his tame shot took a slight deflection off Steer to confirm victory for United.

Romsey did put some pressure on in the final moments and there was just enough time for one more goal when a long kick from Westbrook evaded everybody and found Jima-Otero who weaved in and out around the last defender before playing a looped pass to Fox who calmly lifted in over the ‘keeper.

However it was too little too late as the referee blew his final whistle seconds after the restart.

2016/17 Games: 45

2016/17 Grounds: 40

Total Grounds Visited: 176

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