HAREFIELD UNITED FIGHT BACK TO PROGRESS IN FA VASE
The weather allowed Harefield United’s away Fourth Round FA Vase match against Clevedon Town to go ahead, at the third attempt, on Saturday last 28th January. Your reporting team attended the game, which was played in gloomy overcast conditions, brightened only by the dazzling orange jersey worn by Harefield United goalkeeper, Jacob Ballheimer. After what we have experienced in the last few weeks, we were all happy to accept the weather conditions (if not the jersey). We were warmly welcomed and very well looked after by the Clevedon Town officials.
Clevedon Town, who play in the Premier Division of the Toolstation Western League, had reached this stage of the competition with home victories over Mangotsfield United (4-0) and New Milton Town (5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw).
Harefield United had entered the competition in the 1st Qualifying Round and had accounted for London Colney (4-1 at home), Windsor (2-0 away), Rising Ballers Kensington (5-0 away), Chessington & Hook United (3-0 away) and North Greenford United (2-1 at home).
The Hares deservedly won a thrilling cup tie against a very good home side, by showing great determination and fighting spirit and not a little skill, to overcome a 2-goal deficit. They had the better of the possession throughout the first half but were unable to break through a well organised home defence. Clevedon meanwhile took their chances and scored two good goals, which saw them approaching the interval in a dominant position.
However, Harefield pulled a goal back with the last kick of the first half. Then, despite their efforts in the second half, the game seemed to be slipping away. However, they equalised in the 85th minute, to force a penalty shoot-out, which they won in convincing fashion, thanks to some fine goalkeeping.
The match got off to a lively start, with both goalkeepers quickly in tidying up action. Then Clevedon’s Glen Hayer made a timely tackle on Trey Pender-Brown, who had worked himself into a good position, inside the box.
The Seasiders went ahead in the 5th minute, when an unmarked Ethan Feltham headed Elliott Nicholson’s cross into the corner of the net.
The Hares retaliated immediately. Samir Shaffi released Sam Shaw, whose low cross was turned for a corner by keeper, Ryan Thacker. Richard Pacquette’s shot went across the goalmouth and past the far post. A long free kick from Sam Shaw was taken high by the keeper.
A mazy run by Trey Pender-Brown finished with Glen Hayer blocking his shot. Trey then tested Ryan Thacker with a high shot and again, low down after he had been released by Sam Shaw.
At the other end of the pitch, Jacob Ballheimer saved Archie Ferris’ header, from a long free kick. Ethan Feltham’s dangerous low centre was cut out by Ano Mano.
Jacob then made a superb full length save from Archie Ferris’s low drive.
However, Clevedon doubled their lead in the 26th minute when, following a good advantage by the referee, Archie Ferris set up Cam Salmon, whose low shot went in off of the post.
Ethan Feltham gave the Hares’ defence some problems. He was thwarted by a timely tackle by Samir Shaffi and then by a couple of interceptions by Callum Neal.
Ryan Thacker saved low down at close range from Richard Pacquette.
As the interval approached, both sides had further goal scoring attempts. Sam Shaw’s free kick, into the home penalty box, started a melee, which ended with the award of a free kick to Clevedon. Jacob made a high save and left his area to avert danger by kicking the ball over the stand.
The Hares pressed strongly in added time. A header by Sam Shaw from Ollie Wontner’s cross went narrowly wide. A long free kick taken by Jacob, from just inside his own half, produced a corner, which the keeper pushed away.
Then Richard Pacquette, celebrating his 40th birthday, gave his team renewed hope by driving the ball in via the post, with the last kick of the first half.
If this was not quite the main turning point, it was a very important moment in the match for the Hares. The spring in their collective step, as they hurried off to the changing rooms, clearly demonstrated how keen they were to start discussing their tactics for the second half.
Score at half time: Clevedon Town 2 Harefield United 1
Trey Pender-Brown fastened onto a through ball but was intercepted by Alex Camm. Skipper, Paul Underwood’s long throw into the Seasider’s goalmouth produced a corner, which lead to a succession of shots being charged down, before a free kick relieved the pressure on the defence.
A glancing header by Clevedon’s Syd Camper, from Mitch Osmond’s free kick, went narrowly wide.
The Hares pushed up in search of the equaliser but with the hosts dangerous on the break, openings appeared at both ends.
Femi Ogunsola won a tackle against Alex Camm but his long ball into the box, eluded his forwards. Trey worked his way through but was stopped on the edge of the penalty area. The advancing Callum Neal headed Paul Underwood’s long throw across the goalmouth and keeper Thacker eventually took the ball high up, following the resulting melee. Samir Shaffi headed Sam Shaw’s wide angled free kick over the bar.
Archie Ferris won the ball and advanced on the Hares’ goal but his effort, across the goal, was cleared by Samir. Jacob saved Nathanial Groom’s diving header at point-blank range.
With 5 minutes of normal time remaining, when it seemed that an equaliser wasn’t going to come for Harefield, Lenny Farhall outwitted his markers to net from close range.
Score after 90 minutes: Clevedon United 2 Harefield United 2
Clevedon Town went first in the penalty shoot-out, which was dominated by Hares’ custodian, Jacob Ballheimer. He had better wear that orange jumper in the next round.
Alex Camm and Sam Shaw successfully converted the first pair of kicks.
The score remained at 1-1 after the second pair of penalties. Jacob dived to save from Mitch Osmond but Harry Laflin hit his shot past the post.
The 3rd pair of kicks saw Jacob save from Nathanial Groom and Richard Pacquette smashing his shot into the top of the net.
Then Jacob dived to his left to stop Syd Camper’s shot and Samir Shaffi converted his shot to put his team into the last 16.
Penalty shoot-out score: Clevedon Town 1 Harefield United 3
Referee, Benjamin Duffill and his colleagues controlled the match admirably.
TEAM LINE UPS:
Clevedon Town AFC: Ryan Thacker, Elliot Nicholson (Sam Iles 61 mins) , Fin Biggs, Mitch Osmond, Glen Hayer, Syd Camper, Ethan Feltham (Nathanial Groom 46), Alex Camm, Archie Ferris (capt), Cam Salmon and Freddie King (Callum Eastwood 66).
Unused substitutes: Charles Lovell (goalkeeper), Henry Westlake, Sol Kent and Tom Kemble.
Manager: Alex White Assistant Manager: Ryan King Physio: Hannah Lewis.
Harefield United FC: Jacob Ballheimer, Samir Shaffi, Steven Green, Paul Underwood (capt), Callum Neal, Ano Mano, Femi Ogunsola (Lenny Farhall 72), Ollie Wontner (Luke Baldwin 79), Richard Pacquette, Samuel Shaw and Trey Pender-Brown (Harry Laflin 90).
Unused substitutes: Hekmat Alizai, Shadrac Malembe and David Brown (goalkeeper).
Manager: Jason Shaw Assistant Manager: Michael Molokwu Coach: Dom Cassells Physio: Aishling O’Byrne
Referee: Benjamin Duffill Assistant Referees: Christopher Bounds and Kulwant Mann Fourth Official: Mark Laughlin.
Harefield United have been drawn at home in the 5th round on 11th February, when they will play Sussex club, Peacehaven & Telscombe.
We thank Chris & Jim for their time, travelling to the banks of the Bristol Channel to cover this game. As ever, they have selected a range of their favourite shots from the match, Chris has also kindly provided a full album of images from the match.