Southall FC were the only Middlesex FA member club engaged in the Third Round of the FA Vase on Saturday last 11th December and our roving team of Chris Benn (County photographer) and Jim Taylor (reporter) visited The Guildford Spectrum for their away tie, against Guildford City FC.
Guildford City are currently playing at the same level as Southall but in the Combined Counties League Premier Division South. Before this match they were 10th place, with 7 wins and 6 defeats from their 16 matches and a goal difference of +4. Southall had also played 16 matches and were in second place in the Premier Division North, with 11 wins and 2 draws and a goal difference of +26.
Guildford City had reached Round 3 of the competition by defeating Shoreham (Home) 4-0 and Flackwell Heath (Away) 1-0. Southall have beaten Erith & Belvedere (Home) 3-0 and Chatham Town (Home) on penalties, after a 2-2 draw.
Both clubs were forced to contest this match with depleted strike forces. Guildford City’s leading goalscorer, Jordan Adeyami was suspended, while Southall were without Anthony O’Connor and Lewis Putnam, who scored in the previous round against Chatham Town and also struck the winner in the penalty shoot-out. Knowledge of this situation should have prepared us for the lack of goals in this match.
A hard fought and interesting game, played on a heavy pitch did end up goalless and was therefore eventually decided in Southall’s favour, by a penalty shoot-out. As in the previous round, against Chatham Town, Southall goalkeeper, Berkley Laurencin, was the hero, saving 2 kicks.
The hero of the hour gathers the ball
Southall had the better of possession in the first half, defended well and played good football in midfield. However, they were unable to capitalise on their good approach work.
The first attempt on goal by either team came in the 10th minute from Southall’s Nathan Dennis, who drove just wide. Then a low shot from Southall’s skipper, Ryan Hope was saved by home keeper, Mike McEntergart, following good approach work by Nathan. Then James McCluskey fired narrowly wide for the visitors.
Guildford repel an early Southall attack
Southall continued to take the initiative and in the 15th minute, Luke Hennaghan hoisted a long freekick into the Guildford City penalty area for Louis Stead’s shot to be stopped by the keeper’s foot. They came even closer to scoring two minutes later, when a good move finished with Nathan Dennis hitting a post. Then home defender, Ethan Nelson-Roberts, performed a timely block on a shot as it was leaving the foot of Lenny Farhall.
A dangerous freekick, taken from a wide position by Luke Hennaghan, following a trip on Lenny Farhall, was punched away from under his bar by the home custodian.
City’s first proper scoring threat came after 30 minutes, when Nat Mensah missed a difficult chance following Max Oldham’s header across goal. Then a shot by Max Coppinger was blocked.
A narrow escape for Southall
A long spell of Southall possession, consisting of around 15 passes, ended with Lenny Farhall being adjudged offside.
A somewhat bizarre incident occurred just before the interval. After a Southall corner kick had been taken, a second ball mysteriously appeared among the action in the goalmouth, leading to the necessity of a stoppage in play and a dropped ball. This was particularly inexplicable, in view of the distance of the pitch at this ground from its surroundings.
Score at half time: Guildford City 0 Southall 0
The rain arrived during the half time interval and set in as the game proceeded, making the conditions increasingly difficult for the participants and reducing visibility.
Play was more even territorially in the second half and both sides had scoring opportunities.
Less than a minute after the restart, City’s Nathaniel Mensah couldn’t quite get to a good cross from Max Oldham. Then, in the 50th minute, Southall had a lucky escape, when there was a double miskick in front of the open net by first Mensah and then Billy Connor, following another of Max Oldham’s crosses.
Southall’s James McClusky blasted wide from the edge of the box. City’s Mike Coppinger fired over. A good break out of defence ended with the home keeper pushing a low shot onto the post. Then he saved at Luke Hennaghan’s feet, after the striker had been released by Louis Stead.
Carl Pearce goes up for a corner
In the final moments of the match, home skipper, Antonio Simeone hooked a bouncing ball past the post, following a corner and then in the increasing murk, a Southall player fired just wide.
Southall defenders, Carl Pearce and Louis Dailey both received cautions, in the 70th and 78th minutes respectively, for illegally breaking up City attacks.
Score after 90 minutes: Guildford City 0 Southall 0
Guildford City’s Nathaniel Mensah took the first penalty kick, which Berkley Laurencin saved, diving to his left. Alex Nolan went first for Southall and coolly converted his kick.
Barkley Laurencin saves the first penalty
Following this, the second, third and fourth pairs of kickers were all successful. They were, with the Guildford City player named first, Prince Mbengui and Louis Stead, Mike Coppinger and Luke Hennaghan, Billy Connor and Lenny Farhall.
Barkley makes his second penalty save, to win the tie for Southall...
The fifth pair of kicks started with Berkley Laurencin again diving to his left, to save Antonio Simeone’s kick, making the taking of Southall’s final kick unnecessary.
...and the celebrations begin
Penalty shoot-out score: Guildford City 3 Southall 4
GUILDFORD CITY: Mike McEntegart, Kyrell Palmer, Ethan Nelson-Roberts, James Glover, Antonio Simeone (capt), Prince Mbengui, Yannick Monga, Mike Coppinger, Max Oldham, Nathaniel Mensah and Billy Connor.
Unused substitutes: Campbell Scott, Josh Everard, Chris Adams, Kensa Clarke, Sean Mason and Jackson Hogg.
Manager: Tristan Rees.
SOUTHALL: Berkley Laurencin, Alex Nolan, Frankie Taylor, Louis Stead, Carl Pearce, Louis Dailey, Ryan Hope (capt), James McCluskey (Joe Wylie 77 mins) , Nathan Dennis (Romey Eccles-Meoded 68), Luke Henneghan and Lenny Farhall,
Unused substitutes: Jack Roper, Joe Clifton, Daniel Clifton, Oliver Amufua and Koju Abayomi (GK).
Manager: Max Howell.
Referee: Daniel Bishop (who had a very good game) Assistant Referees: Pablo Aquilar and Owen Lawrence.
As ever with thank Chris & Jim for covering the match for us, they have selected their favourite images from the match as shown through report, Chris has also provided a full album of imagery available below.
Chir & Jim's Picks
Full album of images courtesy of Chris Benn