Shoreham 2 - 3 Glebe FC
Shoreham Somehow Lose Vase
Article courtesy of Townsend Around
No Sussex side has ever won the FA Vase. Indeed, in the forty-two years that the competition has existed, no team from the county has even come close. Neighbouring Kent and Hampshire have seen sides take a trip to Wembley, and even Surrey- not normally known as a footballing hotbed- has been to the party, but Sussex is still waiting for its invitation.
Shoreham, top of the Southern Combination Football League, were tipped to have a decent chance of bucking that trend this season, and after scoring eighteen goals in two rounds the good folk of Middle Road must have been confident that they would have a decent run in the competition. So it was a surprise that a group of rather imbalanced Musselmen exited the Vase despite increasing their goals scored tally to twenty, when they were on the receiving end of three goals from SCEFL Division One Glebe, the last one coming in added time after it seemed that Shoreham had snatched a replay from a match where they had most of the possession but their opponents most of the opportunities to score.
Earlier in the week Shoreham manager Bryan O’Toole had stated that he was expecting a tough challenge, and that his side would have to be ready for that. He was right on both counts, but whatever preparation his team had undergone they were unable to cope with the pace of the Glebe attack, and surprisingly struggled for penetration of their own. Almost from kick off long balls launched towards Rob O’Toole were won by the Shoreham man, but on just about every occasion he had nobody close enough to knock it down to. Joe Dryer buzzed up and down the left wing, George Gaskin tried repeatedly to jink his way into the box, but for all of their individual ability there was a lack of balance about the side which made their approach play slightly predictable and allowed Glebe to defend solidly before breaking at speed.
Glebe, in second place in their division and- like Shoreham- with only one defeat to their name this season, had already beaten two higher level sides, Deal Town and Cray Valley, in reaching the first round of the competition. A senior club for only six years their progress both on and off the field has been phenomenal, and you’d have to fancy them for promotion this season. A run in the Vase was obviously important to their supporters, and they were confident before the match- but the importance to the players was demonstrated in the twenty seventh minute when they went ahead. Ryan Golding, who already had fifteen goals to his name in this campaign, leapt unmarked to head home, and then celebrated as if he’d won both the cup and the lottery.
Musselmen manager O’Toole later complained bitterly about the long throw that led to this goal, claiming that the thrower had three quarters of his foot over the line when taking it. He may have been right, but the truth was that if any one of his defenders had remembered to pick up the fifteen-goal forward it may not have mattered. The physicality of Golding, coupled with the speed of the gazelle-like Fred Obasa and the prompting of winger Sam Long, caused the home defence difficulties all afternoon.
Shoreham were level within twelve minutes. Fabulous work down the right from Jack Hartley saw the ball fall to the impressive Joe Dryer, but he still had a great deal of work to do as he lined up a shot. His aim was true, and the ball sped through a crowd of players straight into the bottom corner of the net.
At this point the home support expected their team to take control, and indeed they tried, but Glebe held firm and their keeper Adam Molloy wasn’t unduly troubled. The half drew to a close with the scores level.
This season’s Shoreham FC are a bit of an enigma. Last year they were kept out of the relegation places more by the ineptitude of others than by their own success, yet this year, with a new manager and almost an entirely new team, they are favourites to win a title they last won in 1978. The nature of that team is deserving of analysis.
The second half started with the home side dominant, however Glebe continued to look threatening on the break, and almost went ahead when a long ball out of defence was won by Obasa ahead of keeper and defender and headed towards an empty net, only for Callum Donaghey to hare back and head over the bar. The breakthrough came in the 67th minute, but despite Shoreham pressure it was Glebe who took the lead, when a free kick on the left was drifted into the box by Joe Borland, and Shoreham keeper Nathan Stroomberg was only able to punch it over his own head into the back of the net. Manager O’Toole later claimed that his keeper had been fouled, and indeed given the number of players around him that was a possibility, but the referee disagreed and the goal stood. On balance of play it was probably fair, as despite Shoreham’s stranglehold on possession it was the away side who had the better chances.
The Musselmen pushed again for an equaliser, and the game became rather physical. A continuing battle between Rob O’Toole and Glebe number six Charlie McCarthy was clearly getting up the nose of Shoreham’s main man, as he counted out to the referee just how many times he’d been on the receiving end of what he deemed unfair challenges, including an earlier penalty claim from which the home side were awarded a corner. Eventually that pressure told, and a fine cross from Scott Packer was headed home by Callum Donaghey with fifteen minutes to go, promising a barnstorming finish.
The match then turned on a sending off. Three minutes after the equaliser Shoreham Assistant Manager Kevin Keehan went into the referees book for dissent. After the game his manager made it clear that he felt that this decision was unfair, as words had been attributed to Keehan that he had not actually said, but with a yellow card to his name the experienced midfielder should have been more careful, yet five minutes from time committed a foul on Obasa that the referee correctly called as a yellow card. The ten men continued to pour forward, which seemed a risky strategy given the circumstances, and so it proved when two minutes into added time a bouncing ball found Obasa alone near the penalty spot. The striker buried the ball in the back of the Shoreham net for the goal that his performance had undoubtedly deserved, and the home side had no time to respond.