vs Leighton Town
SSML Premier Division
8th September 2018
The FA Vase, a competition that Arlesey have won at Wembley so this was a game that they were expecting to win against a team from a lower division.
The day started poorly as James Hatch had to drop out for family reasons at the last minute. The defence was also reshuffled from last week but on a good day weather wise for football this was still expected to be a win.
Irchester started positively with a corner and a cross in from Joshua Burge was well taken by birthday boy Robbie Ponting.
Arlesey responded with Ricky Lawrence finding Lorrell Smith but his cross was cleared before Aarron Browne won a corner that Lawrence headed wide.
A good attack from Irchester was stopped by a good block from Tom Guiney before Alfie Taylor shot over the bar and from a corner Dan Spaughton headed just over the Arlesey bar.
Adam Brown was booked for a heavy challenge in the centre that he didn’t really need to make but the free kick was cleared by Jason Darvall. A high ball in fed in Lorrell smith but he was stopped well by the keeper diving at his feet. A free kick from Ash Fuller just evaded Smiths foot when any connection must surly have scored. From an Irchester corner a break saw Smith break clear but he was stopped by a good tackle that looked a foul but only a corner was given by the ref. From this Tom Guiney’s header was cleared off the line and came out to Lawrence but his header went over the bar when he should have perhaps done better. Arlesey were now applying good pressure; from a throw Smith had a good header that was blocked as a defender sliced the ball over his bar with no control but the corner was cleared. Lawrence found Fuller who hit a good shot that skimmed just past the post before Arlesey were forced to make an early change as skipper Tom Guiney went off injured to be replaced by Aaron Gooch.
This seemed to disrupt Arlesey’s rhythm, and Irchester got back into the game but it was a shock on 41 mins as a long ball was uncharacteristically not dealt with by Ponting and he was beaten by the bounce that fell right into the path of Ryan Lovell and he made no mistake shooting into the empty net for 0-1.
Just before half time Aarron Browne cut in from the wing and just as he was about to shoot he was cut down with a late out of control sliding tackle from Burge on the edge of the box. This was clearly seen by the ref but he did no more than award a free kick which was taken by Fuller who shot just over the bar but it was 0-1 at HT.
The 2nd period saw Arlesey start positively; Browne got into the box and disappeared into a big heap of players but this was awarded as a free kick to Irchester, but on 50 mins Mukudzeyi Makuza provided a dep cross that went over the full back but found Ash Fuller who made no mistake as he rifled the ball into the bottom corner for 1-1.
From the kick off Makuza put in another cross that keeper Dale Hamilton took under the bar and from a good ball Smith turned and hit a shot that was well taken by Hamilton. Another sliced clearance from the centre half flew over the bar for a corner and from than Makuza was fouled as Irchester hung on. From the FK Fullers shot was cleared.
Arlesey should have taken the lead on 63 mins as Makuza found Lawrence with a good angled ball but for the 2nd game running the big forward missed as his header somehow bounced over the bar from close range.
From this point the game seemed to lose pace as the heat of the day started to take its toll. Irchester managed a few long range efforts that didn’t really trouble Arlesey and from another free kick Aaron Gooch put his header over the bar, but with the game drifting toward extra time the big controversial moment happened; Lewis Sinclair made a sliding tackle in the middle of the pitch which didn’t look that much as both players were competing for the ball, there was a definite sound of boots clashing in what looked just a 50/50 tackle but the ref didn’t see it that way and thought Sinclair was high and uncontrolled (his words) and pulled out a straight red card. With the crowd voicing loud disbelief and the Irchester player obviously unhurt, Sinclair trudged off.
Just before this whistle Dave Boddington slide into a tackle feet up in almost the same place but this time the ref only showed a yellow card. From this free kick Gooch headed wide so it went into extra time finishing at 1-1.
Extra time started very scrappy. Lovell had a shot wide of the target and Bell was booked for a push. From this free kick Makuza worked into the box and shot, the keeper palmed the ball and Gooch turned under him and shot under him into the net but Arlesey’s celebrations were cut short as the lino called for a foul by Makuza and it was disallowed.
Arlesey then took their eye off the ball as Irchester countered and they were unable to get back as from a cross Nathan Haycock had the remaining defender on the wrong side of him as the full back wasn’t on the pitch and he headed home for 1-2 to the visitors.
Irchester were now making ever second count as they took all of the time they could over everything as Arlesey tried to retrieve the game. From a FK Gooch headed onto Smith who shot over, and just before the break sub James Dickenson was booked for a foul. From the free kick Fuller just scraped the post as he beat the keeper but it was still 1-2 at the turnaround.
Irchester started stronger again as bell put a FK past everybody and Lovell had a scuff shot that was taken by Ponting. Burge made a good run to break through but he was well stopped by Ponting before Gooch tackled well to clear. Arlesey really should have equalised as a good cross found Fuller who headed well back across the goal but Hamilton did really well throwing out a hand to save a certain goal. Keenleyside received a yellow card as he debated something with the Ref but time was rapidly running out as was energy and as the whistle went Irchester claimed their victory.
A game that Arlesey didn’t have the “rub of the green” and had the major refereeing decisions go against them but it was a game they still should have won, maybe they have been off form for a couple of weeks now and they now have a week to work on solutions before the next game away to London Colney.
Team : Robbie Ponting, Lewis Sinclair r, Ross Taylor, Jason Darvall (Payne56), Adam Brown y, Tom Guiney © (Gooch 30), Makudzeyi Makuzza (Lamond 100), Lorrell Smith , Ricky Lawrence (Ashley 79), Aarron Browne
Subs; Ryan Lamond, Demi Debola Phil Payne, Kai Ashley, Aaron Gooch.