Celson strikes as Shepshed secure victory in FA Vase
Shepshed Dynamo bounced back from their midweek defeat to Walsall Wood in fine fashion on Saturday afternoon as they produced a spirited performance to overcome North West Counties Premier Division outfit Whitchurch Alport in a thoroughly frenetic FA Vase
By Lucas Monk
This clash at Yockings Park was the first between the two sides, and it most certainly served up a spectacle to remember.
Celson Patrocinio’s strike in extra-time would prove decisive on an overcast afternoon in Shropshire that was chock-full of action and saw no fewer than five goals.
Dynamo began brightly, and should perhaps have taken an early lead when, with just five minutes played, Joe Pheasant headed over from point-blank range after Liam Hurst flicked on Sam Moore’s cross from the right.
But this was to prove a ding-dong battle in every sense, and Whitchurch captain Simon Everall drew a fine, flying, fingertip save from Dynamo ‘keeper Brandon Ganley shortly thereafter as he drove infield and unleashed a fierce effort toward goal.
Shepshed swiftly responded with a flurry of forays as Matt Melbourne fired wide on two occasions before threading a slick pass through to the onrushing Sam Moore, whose low effort across goal was attentively saved by Alport stopper Dave Parton on 23 minutes.
But the hosts were anxious to attain a foothold in the match, and after withstanding considerable attacking pressure, they were soon presented with a gilt-edged chance to take the lead on the stroke of half-time when the referee inexplicably, and ludicrously, deemed Clayton McDonald to have been felled in the box.
Joe Minshall assumed the responsibility, and coolly tucked away the spot-kick to put Whitchurch on course for progression into the first round proper.
The goal was profoundly harsh on the visitors, who had hitherto manufactured the better chances but who had also failed to convert them.
However, the match was soon turned on its head just five minutes into the second half.
Dynamo had already seen Hurst fire wide from Jordan Smith’s cutback before, after sending a venomous strike rattling against the aluminium, Moore swivelled and struck a sumptuous left-footed shot from the edge of the area that beat Parton all ends up and sailed into the top corner to restore parity.
And it got even better for Damion Beckford-Quailey’s men just three minutes later.
Hurst’s quick throw-in found Melbourne, who turned and squared the ball for Zach Hill, who took a touch to compose himself before slotting home with aplomb to put the visitors ahead.
The chances continued to come for Dynamo.
Moore spun and shot toward goal only for Parton to parry before trying to force home a third during a tumultuous game of pinball in the Whitchurch box.
Melbourne then seized upon a long ball before driving a low effort just wide of the mark as Shepshed sought to kill the match off, before Moore curled a free-kick over the bar,
Dynamo’s failure to put the match to bed was ruthlessly punished in the 71st minute, when McDonald blasted home into the top corner from a driven ball across the face of goal.
And with the home side now in the ascendancy, Everall then raced through on goal and lifted the ball over Ganley - only for Pheasant to make a crucial intervention at the last.
Shepshed were being subjected to copious pressure, but they were able to force extra-time after Ganley once more denied Everall inside the area and Sean Griffiths blazed over from close range.
The first period of extra-time was largely bereft of event, with McDonald’s spurning of a free header the only action of note, until Everall was presented with a golden chance to secure Whitchurch’s progression into the next round.
The referee chose to play advantage after Joe Howell was fouled inside the box, allowing Everett to check inside and go for goal - only to see his effort clip the outside of the post and bounce wide.
And, sure enough, Alport would soon come to rue that miss in the second half of extra-time as the visitors found a winning goal.
Moore did terrifically well to reach the byline before selflessly cutting the ball back for substitute Celson Patrocinio, who, at the second time of asking, guided a low shot toward goal that squirmed beyond the desperate grasp of Parton and found its way into the net to send the travelling Dynamo supporters into raptures.
Whilst leading 2-1, Shepshed fashioned innumerable clear-cut chances - the industry of Melbourne and Moore proving pivotal - with which they could have killed off any prospect of a Whitchurch revival, but although they allowed their opponents back into the match with yet more slipshod defending, nobody can justly level at them charges of idleness and passiveness. Not for the first time this season, a sheer will to win carried the day for Dynamo, who are safely into Monday’s draw for the first round proper.
Dynamo: Ganley, Pheasant, Day (Doy 86’), Betts, Moore, Hurst, Prenderville (Phillips 47’), Hill, Whymark, Smith, Melbourne (Patrocinio 97’).
Unused subs: Foster, Pole.
Whitchurch Alport: Parton, O’Connor (Marley 46’), Griffiths, Minshall, Ackerill (Ashman 118’), Campion, Sanders (Porter 83’), Howell, Everall, McDonald, Johns (Street 66’).
Unused subs: Parkinson.
Booked: Howell, Marley (Whitchurch).
Man of the match: Sam Moore, whose indefatigable running and excellent equaliser proved crucial for his team.