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Walsham-le-Willows make more history in FA Vase in five-goal thriller against White Ensign to earn tie against Tilbury or Saffron Waldon





Walsham-le-Willows made more club history in the Isuzu FA Vase as they booked their place in the final 32 with a 3-2 win over White Ensign at The Morrish Stadium.

After they etched themselves into Willows folklore with a 4-0 win at Eynesbury Rovers, which saw them qualify for the third round of the competition for the first time, goals from Jack Brame and Harvey Hubbard at both ends of the first half gave the hosts a 2-0 lead.

This came before a Sam Nunn own goal just after the restart made proceedings more nerve-wracking than they should have been.

Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham
Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham

But a goal on the counter attack by substitute Charlie Iglesias made sure that a late scare from the visitors was not enough to take the tie to extra-time, as the Willows earnt a match at home to either Tilbury or Saffron Walden in the fourth round.

Joint bosses Chay Budd and Ian Hubbard made just one change from their 4-1 victory over Long Melford two weeks ago as Matt Glover returned from injury to replace Callum Dongray.

As for the visitors, they made four changes from their 1-0 win over West Essex last Tuesday, as Kacper Gruszczynski, Kyle McAlindon, Iyiola Adebayo and Ezekiel Bademosi all came into the starting 11.

Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham
Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham

Torrential rain on Saturday morning threatened to postpone the game, but the early pitch inspection and work from the Willows’ ground-staff was rewarded inside the first minute of the match.

In game that kicked off in blustering conditions with leaves swirling around the pitch, Scott Chaplin broke down the left worked the ball into the penalty area, which was scrambled away only as far as Brame.

The host’s number 11 took one touch before unleashing a phenomenal right-footed effort into the top left corner to put the Willows into dreamland just seconds into the tie.

The wind was quite literally in Walsham’s sails as they threatened to double their advantage minutes later when Ethan Garcia’s cut-back was met by Charlie Norman who snatched at his effort which fell straight to a grateful Harry Faris in the White Ensign goal.

Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham
Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham

The visitors had struggled to threaten Walsham in the opening stages of the third-round tie but on the 15 minute mark they fashioned their first opportunity.

Josh McFaull received a looping ball before slipping full-back Gruszczynski in on goal, but his effort from inside the box was denied by the legs of Dunne from close range.

Scott Chaplin had shown glimpses of his quality early on in the game with lovely deft touches in pockets of space and he threatened to net a Walsham second as he bared down on the White Ensign goal after 20 minutes.

Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham
Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham

He almost fashioned a one-on-one opportunity but a fantastic last-ditch challenge from the away side’s skipper Archie McFadden denied him the chance to pull the trigger.

Set pieces in the wind were always going to be a threat in the arsenal of either side and the visitors almost equalised via a corner.

Josh McFaull’s teasing left-footed delivery was flicked goal bound by McAlindon towards striker Joe Gregory who slid in at the back post only to see his effort slow down on the turf and cleared away from danger.

Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham
Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham

As one chance escaped the visitors, another went begging for Walsham as they threatened to double their advantage when Oliver McKenzie-Vince broke down the left.

The host’s left back cut the ball back into the box which ricocheted to Garcia, who’s effort from point-blank range was fired over for a corner via a deflection off a visiting defender.

A superb challenge as the Willows’ number nine thought he was destined to score.

The ever-present duo of Nunn and Reece Lanchester stood resolute at the back for the Willows as they mopped up a plethora of through balls that White Ensign tried to fashion chances from.

Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham
Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham

Only a few times did the visitors break past the Walsham back-line in the first half, but when they did they could not get past Dunne in the hosts’ goal.

First, Adebayo saw his deflected effort tipped wide by the Willows’ shot-stopper before he got up to make a brilliant double save to deny Gregory.

Shortly after, the best chance of the half fell to the visitors when Bademosi was played through one-on-one with only Dunne to beat, but he squandered the opportunity to put his side level as he curled an unconvincing effort wide of the far post.

White Ensign’s number 10 simply had to score and his side were left ruing his miss even more when the hosts doubled their advantage on the 43rd minute.

Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham
Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham

A deep cross from the right was headed towards his own goal by Ben Sargent, who was caught in two minds with Garcia lurking behind him, which forced a great reflex save from Faris.

But the ball fell straight to Hubbard who finished into an empty net.

A crucial goal for the Willows on the stroke of half-time to give themselves some breathing space in the tie, as they capped off a brilliant first 45 performance in which they asserted themselves well in while battling against the relentless wind.

The visitors were always going to look to fly out of the traps at the start of the second half and they thought they found their way back into the tie when McFaull slotted home a brilliant right-footed volley having been found unmarked in the penalty area.

Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham
Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham

But a few seconds after the visitors’ attacker wheeled away in celebration, the linesman raised his flag for an offside in the build up to the anger of the White Ensign players and staff.

However, only two minutes later, the visitors did halve the deficit when Sargent’s cross from the right was headed past his own goalkeeper by Nunn.

The hosts did not let this dent their confidence as they went straight up the other end looking to restore their two goal lead, and they almost did when Hubbard’s header from a Chaplin cross landed agonisingly onto the roof of the net.

Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham
Walsham-le-Willows progressed the fourth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history Picture: Richard Marsham

Budd and Hubbard’s side kept pressing on, attempting to utilise the pace of Norman in behind the White Ensign back line, and created another half-chance as Garcia tried his luck from the left corner of the area but his effort curled over the crossbar.

The visitors rolled the dice bringing on Mechack Asuka for McFaull after the hour mark and an inviting chance fell to the White Ensign substitute on 70 minutes.

Sargent was making up for his mistake in the first half and whipped in a pin-point delivery for Asuka who rose high but guided his effort off target with the goal at his mercy.

The Walsham duo of Garcia and Norman looked at cut above throughout the tie and they linked up well on the right hand side to fashion a shooting opportunity for the latter, who’s effort whistled past the top-left corner.

The latter stages of the contest saw few clear-cut chances and after White Ensign threatened, the hosts went up the other end to confirm their place in the next round.

Garcia pushed the Willows up the pitch with great pace and trickery, before slipping through Iglesias on the left who calmly slotted the ball home past Faris.

There was time for a late scare as Asuka headed home from close range to spark a nervy last few minutes at the Morrish Stadium.

This was followed by more drama, as McFadden was shown a red card for what looked like dissent.

But one last pump up the pitch from White Ensign brought the contest to a close as jubilant scenes of joy and relief exploded onto the pitch at The Morrish Stadium.

Walsham-le-Willows: Dunne, Cooper, Lanchester, Nunn, McKenzie-Vince, Hubbard, Glover, Norman (Dongray 75’), Chaplin (Blyth 67’), Brame (Iglesias 80’), Garcia.

Unused substitutes: Walton-Ross, Moss.

White Ensign: Faris, Sargent, Gruszczynski, McFadden, Wilson, McAlindon, Adebayo, Smart, Gregory, Bademosi, McFaull (Asuka 64’).

Unused substitutes: Gillespie, Scanlon, Hunter, Ferris, Chaplin.

Suffolk News MOTM: Ethan Garcia – Showed his quality at times when his side needed it most. Went close on a few occasions and showed great intelligence to assist the all-important third goal.