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First team report  

Sat 22nd Oct 2016
The Buildbase F A Vase First Round Proper
Walsham Le Willows 0-1 TAFC First team

TAFC goals: Adam Scotcher

One of the joys of playing in a national competition (apart from winning some cash!) is the opportunity to visit and play teams from other leagues. So on Saturday we undertook a round trip of 5 hours and over 200 miles to Suffolk to play at the exotically named Summer Road Stadium of Walsham Le Willows FC.

The Willows, as they are known, play in the Premier Division of the Eastern Counties League which is at the same level as us. They have a lovely ground in a rural setting with modern facilities and a nice pitch. We received a warm, friendly welcome which was in stark contrast to the abrasive nature of the game in the second half.

Our hosts had a good run of results in late August/September winning 6 and drawing one game but have since hit a poor patch losing 4 games on the trot. They are 18th in the table but that gave a misleading impression of their strength as they narrowly lost only 1-0 on Saturday to Stanway Rovers who are joint top. We were also informed by some spectators that their squad contains former players from Bury Town who play at a higher level in Ryman Division 1. So they had a lot of senior experience in their ranks and they were going to be tough opponents.

We got off to a dream start when in the 4th minute Sam Joliffe picked out George Carbery whose sumptuous flick allowed Adam Scotcher to beat the offside trap and thump the ball past the keeper. There were complaints that Adam was offside but the Linesman was adamant that he wasn't and the goal stood. It was great to see Adam get on the score sheet again as it has taken him a while to find the net and he has now done so for the second game running. Score 0-1.

The home side shrugged off this early setback and started to probe our defence, which stood its ground. We were relying on quick counterattacks which caused the Willlows defence plenty of problems and one such attack in the 14th minute gave George Carbery a shooting chance but a defender did well to get across and make a block.

Adam Scotcher whipped over a fine cross which the keeper just got his hands to and then midway through the half Adam and Chris Vardy linked up down the left with the latter's superb cross picking out the unmarked Ryan Sturges at the far post but his header just cleared the bar. Another cross from Adam deflected off a defender and nearly turned into an own goal.

Our hosts were lively going forward but we were defending well getting in blocks and clearances. One of the home side's best attacking players turned out to be their left back Sam Peters. He sent over a lovely cross to the far post which went unclaimed then later he decided to take matters into his own hands firing in a terrific long range shot that Jack Hopwood tipped over the bar.

Jack Burne got on the end of a corner but failed to test Jack Hopwood as our opponents finished the half strongly but again we held firm giving them few chances in front of goal and we went into the break with our noses in front. HT Score 0-1.

Unfortunately the second half was a bad tempered affair with the hosts being reduced to 10 players for the last quarter when Alex Steed was red carded for a petulant stamp on Luke Dunstan. But for the leniency of the Referee two more home players could have got their marching orders as well. We were not completely blameless, picking up three yellow cards.

In between the fouls and free kicks we created two very good scoring opportunities with George Carbery putting Chris Mason's super cross over the bar from eight yards then Chris Vardy set up Jack Sunderland whose lob over the stranded keeper drifted wide of the gaping net.

The home side made their intent to attack clear at the start of the second half bringing on their tall leading scorer Andrew Wood (one wonders why he didn't start) to link up with the lively Tanner Call to form a little and large front two who between them have banged in 17 goals this season. Early on Wood flicked the ball on for Call but Luke Dunstan had read the situation superbly and dealt with the danger.

Midway through the second period we had a narrow escape when Wood's header hit the bar and we managed to scramble the ball away. It turned out to be the closest they would come to a goal. The game was evenly poised and then came the sending off in the 68th minute and there after tempers were raised and the Referee had his hands full to try and keep control.

Chris Stapleton came off the bench but was soon replaced himself by Jack Sunderland following a robust challenge which caught his knee. Having only just returned from a knee injury there was some concern for him, but apparently it was not the same knee and hopefully it is just a nasty gash.

Despite being a man short the home team raised their game in an attempt to keep in the tie and they saw a lot of the ball but we were in an unforgiving mood and we defended well. Big centre back Nathan Clarke had a shot which took a slight deflection but still failed to trouble Jack Hopwood.

Our opponents won a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the area but Wood sent his effort way off target. Similarly corners were well dealt with by our defenders.

Again it was down to defender Sam Peters to produce his side's best effort with a powerful shot that Jack Hopwood beat away, with Jack also catching the subsequent corner. After a tough battle we held onto our slim lead to go in the hat for Monday's draw. FT Score 0-1.

A good result against tough opposition which extended our unbeaten run to 15 games. We were not at our fluent best but bearing in mind the youthfulness of our team, which had an average age of just over 23, we showed a lot of resilience and stood up well defensively to record our 6th clean sheet of the season.

Having been drawn away in the first three rounds we can but hope that the FA pull our name out of the hat first on Monday so we get a home game on 22 November.

We are in cup action again on Tuesday night when we travel to London Tigers for a Premier Division Cup game. Then on Saturday we have a league fixture with a visit to newly promoted Crawley Green.


WLW: 1 Craig Brand 2 Joji Kawaguchi 3 Sam Peters 4 Matt Morton (Capt) 5 Nathan Clarke 6 Craig Nurse (12 Andrew Wood HT) 7 Josh Curry 8 Alex Steed 9 Tanner Call 10 Jack Brame 11 Ryan Gibbs (14 Ryan Foster 67). Subs not used: 15 Edward Elers 16 Shaun Thorrold 17 Jake Gathercole.

TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Jack Seaton 3 Chris Mason 4 Luke Dunstan 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Ryan Sturges (12 Chris Stapleton 78) (14 Jack Sunderland 86) 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 Adam Scotcher 11 George Carbery (16 Tommy Twelves 90+4). Subs not used: 15 James Banfield 17 Stuart Stedman.


WLW: -

TA: Adam Scotcher (4)

Crowd: 102