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Scorers : Brad Cooke 45+1, Ryan Winder 112, Darryhl Mason 116  /  Lee Wort 27

Date: Saturday 23rd February 2019 - 3pm - Buildbase FA Vase Quarter Final

Venue: Wincham Park (Witton Albion FC)

Northwich Victoria: Daniel Taberner, Joe Camozzi, Jack Flemming, Ryan Winder, Kieran Kenny, Andrew Fitzgerald, Harvey Whyte, Bradley Cooke [c], Rob Doran, Joel Brownhill, Daryhill Mason.  Subs : Brian Matthews, Jordan Darr, Lewis Brownhill, Dominic Craig, Thomas Scott

Yellow Cards: ?

Sholing: Ryan Gosney, TJ Cuthbertson, Marv McLean, Pete Castle, Dan Miller, Owen Roundell, Alex Sawyer (Brad Targett 94), Byron Mason [c], Dan Mason, Lee Wort, Jake Hoole. Unused subs: Owen Royl, Jack Smith, Bradey Norton, Nick O'Donnell

Red Card: Lee Wort

Attendance: 719 (approx 100 Sholing fans)

Referee: Tom Reeves   Assistants: Dale Baines & Alex Grey

The Wembley dream for the Boatmen is over, cruely defeated deep into extra-time after being forced to play with 10 men for 77 minutes. Lee Wort put Sholing ahead, but was then shown a straight red for a lunge, with the home side equalising in added time at the end of the first half.  Despite being a man light, Sholing dominated the 2nd half and first period of extra time, creating several chances, but a deflected goal was a kick to the stomach and then the home side rubbed salt into the wounds with a third.

Team News: Byron Mason returned from illness to make his 550th appearance for Sholing (Congratulations to Byron, a fantastic achievement, especially as for over 400 of those games he's been captain). Owen Roundell was preferred in midfield ahead of Royl.

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There was a big crowd of over 700, noisely supporting the home side, but the loyal fans of Sholing were also making themselves heard as the game got underway and it was a predictably frantic start to the game, with the ball a hot potato for both teams. The "Trickies" settled quicker than the Boatmen, forcing several corners, but all of them came to nothing, with Gosney claiming well and the defence clearing their lines.  Sholing started to stretch the home defence, with Wort having a shot comfortably saved, but he was to make the breakthrough on 27 minutes. A long clearance by Ryan Gosney evaded the home defence and was latched upon by LEE WORT, who ran in on goal and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper and into the far corner.

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Sholing continued to mop up the home team's attacks, but were dealt a huge blow on 43 minutes when Lee Wort was sent off.  Wort had checked in from the right, but slightly over-ran the ball, meaning he lunged in to try to retrieve it, but made contact with the defender. It was an honest attempt to get the ball, but the Ref immediately brandished his red card.  It got worse for Sholing in added time, when a rare moment of switching off, allowed a cross from the left to be both put in unchallenged and then to allow it to be met, unmarked 10 yards out, where Cooke headed down and in beyond Gos.  HT 1-1

Both home and away supporters alike, were expecting the second half to be one where the home side, with a man advantage, would dominate both possession and chances, but the reverse was the case.  It was Sholing who were bossing the game and for entire second 45, they didn't look like a side who only had 10 men.  Alex Sawyer was getting forward well to support Dan Mason, and the midfielder went close twice in the space of a few minutes.  The best chance on 65 when he chased a dropping ball into the box and got there ahead of the keeper to hit a first time effort that Taberner did very well to stick out a hand and deflect away, but it went only to Jake Hoole, but his shot under pressure towards the empty net, lacked power, with a defender clearing the danger.

Dan Mason hooked an effort over and Sawyer shot wide from Hoole's cross as the Boatmen remained on top heading into the last 10 minutes.  Gosney did have one well struck shot to save, but it felt like Sholing were more likely to snatch a winner in normal time.  Jake Hoole showed great control to beat two players on the edge of the box to open up space to smash a shot across the keeper, but agonisingly wide of the far post.  But the game was headed to extra-time.  FT 1-1

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It was much of the same in the first period of extra-time, Sholing on top, so much so that the noisy home support went quiet as the Boatmen had 4 chances to score. Firstly, Dan Mason hammered a shot from 20 yards, but straight at the keeper.  Then from a corner, Dan Miller headed down towards the post, but the ball was hacked clear near the line.  A snap shot from 30 yards by Jake Hoole seemed to take the keeper by surprise, but he did well to dive and push it away.  In the follow up, Dan Mason spun and got his shot away, but once again, denied by Taberner. Brad Targett had come on and he also had space to get away a shot, but too close to the keeper.

Into the second half of extra time and Sholing didn't show any signs of tiring, with TJ getting on the overlap a couple of times, but the Boatmen couldn't take advantage.  Then on 112 minutes, Ryan Winder collected the ball on the right back side of the area and got away a shot that took a deflection and spun low inside the far post.  It was a devastating blow for Sholing, with the wind clearly knocked out of them and the home team jubliant and suddenly full of energy.  Northwich rattled the post, before grabbing their 3rd when a cross from the right saw Darryhl Mason, the home side's best outfield player, take a touch and smash into the roof of the net.  There was no way back for Sholing.

It's a very hard result to take for Sholing, but the players gave their all and for long periods, you'd think they were the home side with a man advantage.  However, as we learned in 2014, sometimes your name is on the cup and sometimes, even when you deserve more, you come away with nothing.  It's hard on the Boatmen, but they can be very proud of themselves for both this performance and the incredible run this season in all competitions.  Still plenty to play for, but sadly, not the biggest prize of all.  FT AET 3-1

Many thanks to the Sholing fans who made the long trip and got behind the team so superbly.  Best of luck to Northwich Victoria in the Semi Final.

Next Game : Alresford Town v Sholing - Tuesday 26 Feb 7:30pm - Soton Senior Cup Semi Final (at AFC Stoneham)

Dave Diaper (interviewed by Jamie Spoor) reflected on the game : "When we won this in 2014 we beat Wisbech 1-0 at this stage and it was a backs to the wall rearguard. We got the rub of the green then but today we didn't. It was a needless tackle by Lee Wort, he has held his hands up and admitted it. Then for the second goal it's taken a huge deflection off Pete Castle's knee and wrong footed Gos, who probably saves it otherwise"

On his side's efforts: "In the end it was just tired legs and the numerical disadvantage that has proved the difference. It was always going to be hard with ten men, but all credit to my players for playing how they did for so long. I couldn't have asked for more from them. It's a tough one to take, to come so close to a replay and getting knocked out in such a cruel way. I felt we were the better side and only one team was going to win it in extra-time. Their keeper has kept them in it and we didn't feel the need to make any changes in terms of subs."

On the fans who made the journey to Cheshire: "Thank you also to our wonderful fans for giving us such vocal backing and travelling all this way, without them this club is nothing and they are unstinting in their support week in week out. The players and myself really do appreciate it."

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