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Folland Sports 2, AFC St Austell 3 (aet)

What is it about the FA Vase? I’ve seen many a blood and thunder clash and “backs to the wall” performance from various Cornish clubs in my time and this one from St Austell ranks up there amongst the best!

Leading after 12 minutes through some cool Liam Eddy finishing was the dream start against the Sydenhams Football League Premier Division side. In the next attack after the goal, skipper Chris Reski went close to increasing the lead and everything looked on for a relatively comfortable passage into the Third Round. However, Folland gradually got themselves into the game and in the 27th minute Ashley Jarvis equalised when he got on the end of a defence splitting pass from Jamie Barron.

Three minutes later things got worse for the Cornish side after referee Jonathan Walker rather belatedly, but correctly, pointed for a free kick on the edge of the St Austell penalty area. Jordan Dingle found himself as the last man and with the midfielder fouling a Folland player, it was surely going to be an instant red card, but for some reason the ref went over to his assistant who didn’t really show too much interest in getting involved. In the time spent discussing the matter, the ref forgot who had committed the foul and then didn’t know who to send off! How embarrassing having to ask St Austell for a player to go!

Dingle was eventually dismissed, but sanity didn’t prevail as within minutes St Austell were trailing. Matt Burt was first to get to a Folland corner and the game had changed in a matter of minutes – 2-1 down and with ten men for another hour at least! Thankfully it stayed 2-1 until half-time allowing the management team of Phil Lafferty and Garry Penhaligon to get to work and calm everyone down. For a few moments before the break there were a couple of players not too far away from seeing the dreaded red mist! The game however was still there for the taking.

The second half was St Austell’s although with 17 minutes remaining, they still trailed! On came Dan Nancarrow for Damon Mulready, an attacker for a defender, but the gamble had to be taken. Six minutes later Mike Body came on for Jared Sims, a fresh pair of legs to run at the Folland defence.

With time running out, the belief was still there and a ball forward was knocked on by Nancarrow and Neil Slateford, like most of the game, was in the right place at the time and in his words … “I saw the ball drop and hit it!” In reality it was a lot more than that – an unstoppable volley at the least!

That goal took the tie into extra time and for a spell in the first 15 minutes, the St Austell legs were just starting to go, Folland looked the more dangerous. They had pushed the big number 5 up into the attack, but never really exploited his height advantage and the back three of Ben Williams, Martin Giles and Lee Whetter held firm, helped out at times by a real team effort from their midfield colleagues, while goalkeeper Jason Chapman made a couple of crucial saves. Meanwhile the pace and determination of Eddy was always a threat and seconds before the extra time break, he really could have settled the tie when he raced away from the home defence but failed to beat the advancing goalkeeper, Ryan Gosney, with a disappointing chip.

Into the second half of extra time and was that opportunity going to prove costly? Not really as St Austell took control and three minutes away from a replay, Eddy made amends. Once again his pace got him away from the flatfooted defenders, but this time he rounded Gosney and smashed the ball into the opposite corner of the Folland goal. A goal worthy of winning any cup tie and thoroughly deserved!

A great day for a club, who some of us can remember being very close to folding not too long ago. How fortunes change, but not without a lot of hard work from people off the pitch as well as on it.

It’s days like yesterday that makes you realise why we love the game.

St Austell's line-up : Jason Chapman, Ben Williams, Damin Mulready (Dan Nancarrow), Jordan Dingle, Lee Whetter, Martin Giles, Chris Reski, Olly Brokenshire, Liam Eddy, Jared Sims (Mike Body), Neil Slateford. Subs not used : Kieran Powell, Phil Lafferty, Garry Penhaligon.

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Thanks for the support Dave on Sat!!

We are planning on having a player of the month award starting in January to kick off our 125th anniversary it will be called the 125 player of the month award, so all the votes registered on the website will determine the winner at the end of each month!!


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