FA Vase match action


Jim Taylor

The Isuzu FA Vase quarter finals were played last Saturday, 9th March and your Roving Team were at Berkeley Fields to watch North Greenford United make club history, by playing their first ever match at that stage of the Vase competition. The Blues entertained Romford, known to their supporters as the Boro, who were also experiencing their best season in the Vase, since the club was reformed in 1992.

Romford are members of the Essex Senior League Premier Division, where they are having a successful season, currently sitting in second place behind Tilbury, who the Blues managed to overcome in the previous round’s penalty shoot-out.

The Boro’s recent performances in the FA Vase (they reached the 4th round proper last season) gained them exemption until this season’s 2nd round proper, in which they beat Crawley Green 2-0 at home. They then had home ties against Mildenhall Town and Stanway Pegasus, who they beat 3-0 and 2-1 respectively. They overcame Middlesex club, Hilltop, from the Combined Counties League, 3-1 away from home in round 5.

North Greenford United entered the competition in round 1 and beat Hollands and Blair (H) 3-2. They then won away ties against Bedfont Sports (3-1) in round 2 and Roffey (2-1) in round 3. They had penalty shoot-out victories in rounds 4 and 5, against Brixham (H), after a 2-2 draw and then Tilbury (A), following a goalless 90 minutes.

The Blues’ winning run was ended by a single goal, scored just after the midway point in the first half of a very tight match. Their efforts to get back on terms, were thwarted by a determined and well organised Boro rearguard. The best of the few subsequent scoring chances actually went to the visitors. However, the Blues kept fighting to the bitter end and should be very proud of their performances, in this match and in their season so far.

North Greenford United made the early running and forced two corners, both of which were cleared. A cross by Ryan Ewhare, following a penetrating run on the right, was dealt with by the Romford defence.

A Blues corner is headed away

Play switched to the other end and Blues’ keeper Sam House punched away a freekick from the left. The ball went to Darren Phillips, whose shot was blocked. Then Finlay Dorrell headed past the upright.

Joe Mills shot over the Romford crossbar from outside the penalty area. Qasim Khan cut in from the left wing and shot over from an acute angle. A good inter-passing move by Sam Brown and Charlie Mitchell was dealt with by a timely interception. A couple more runs by the speedy Ryan Ewhare extended the visitors’ defence.

Romford took the lead in the 25th minute, through Remi Sutton, who headed home, following a free kick taken wide on the left by Sam Deering.

Remi Sutton (to right of the ball) heads the only goal of the match

Charlie Mitchell broke down the left but his cross didn’t find a teammate. A cross by Ryan, following another good run on the right, arrived just too high for Anotida Mano, who could only direct his header upwards and over the bar.

Anotida Mano's header is too high

Harvey Killeen’s shot was charged down and rebounded to Sam Brown, whose close-range shot was saved by keeper Jake Anderson.

A defender outjumped Ryan to clear Charlie Mitchell’s centre. 

Ryan Ewhare (7) is beaten to Charlie Mitchell's centre

A trip on Ryan produced a freekick on the left but Joe Mill’s delivery into the box was headed clear.

Sam Brown was cautioned in the 42nd minute for a clumsy tackle on Romford’s Darren Phillips.
In a spell of Boro pressure just before the interval, shots from Charlie Morris and Ashaan Siddik were blocked and Sam House saved at close range from Darren Phillips.

Sam House saves at close range from Darren Phillips

Half time score: North Greenford United 0 Romford 1

The Blues came close to equalising 4 minutes after the interval, when Joe Mills hit the crossbar with a left footed drive, from around 30 yards.

A shot from Joe Mills (out of picture) hits the crossbar

A good saving tackle by Anotida Mano robbed Romford’s Darren Phillips, who was in the act of shooting.

Joe Mills’ freekick, from around 25 yards, was headed over the bar by a member of the Romford defensive wall.

Joe Mills' free-kick is deflected by the defensive wall

Ashaan Siddik cut in dangerously but Callum Coen cleared for the Blues. Elliott Byrne blocked Charlie Morris’ close range volley from Ashaan’s corner.

Jake Anderson dived to save a drive from Sam Brown. Then Ryan Ewhare cut in and set up Harvey Killeen, who fired wide.

Remi Sutton almost doubled the Boro’s lead in the 65th minute, when he headed against the home crossbar from a corner. The ball rebounded down onto the goal-line and was cleared.

Jake Anderson saved low down at close range from Joe Mills.

The Blues hopes of saving the match took a hit in the 80th minute, when Tomasz Siemienczuk was shown a red card for serious foul play, after kicking out at the goalkeeper who was holding the ball.

Darren Phillips broke away down the middle and went down under Joe Mills’ challenge. The referee decided against a penalty, despite Romford’s appeals.   

The Blues kept pushing forward but they were leaving openings in doing so and as a result, Romford were looking the more likely to score. Sam House saved from Darren Phillips and then from Jaiden Babalola.

Joe Gritt was booked for tripping Demi Sutton, who had broken away downfield, from near the halfway line. Then, as time was running out, Romford’s Lee Hurst was booked, for kicking the ball away and Sam Deering, for a foul.

Anotida Mano made a saving tackle on Charlie Morris, who was about to shoot and then Sam House saved at point-blank range from both Darren Phillips and Jaiden Babalola.

Anotida Mano takes the ball cleanly...

... in a crucial tackle on Charlie Morris

Sam House saves from Darren Phillips

Sam House went up-field for a Blues corner during added time. He was caught out of position, when the ball was cleared and was involved in a race back downfield with Jaiden Babalola. He somehow managed to dispossess Jaiden, without conceding a freekick.

Sam House wins a race for the ball against Jaiden Babalola

Sam went up-field again, a few minutes later, for a freekick and he was in the Romford penalty area, when the referee indicated full-time. 

Result: North Greenford United 0 Romford 1


North Greenford United: Sam House, Callum Coen (Josh Quadray 66 mins), Anotida Mano, Elliott Byrne, Joe Gritt (capt), Joe Mills, Ryan Ewhare (Morgan Cooper 85), Sam Brown, Qasim Khan (Tomasz Siemienczuk 60), Harvey Killeen and Charlie Mitchell.

Unused substitutes: Luke Baldwin, Georgie Brown, Sean Giordmaina and Mitchell Dunstall. 

Managers: Paul Mills and Gary Brown   Coaches: Dino Pashias, Dominic Cassells and Tom Ford   Sports Therapist: Aishling O’Byrne.

Romford: Jake Anderson, Jamie Hursit, Remi Sutton, Jacob Wiggins (Lee Hursit 59), Scott Doe (capt), Ashaan Siddik (Jaiden Babalola 84), Sam Deering, Charlie Morris, Finlay Dorrell (Jeremie Mukendi 64), Darren Phillips and Daniel Nakipov-Getmansky.

Unused substitutes: Toheeb Elegushi, Reece McGovern, Danny Hurford and Wayne Baker.

Manager: Dan Spinks   Assistant Manager: John Hughes   Coaches: Lee Benson and Christos Mead   Physio: Victoria Omadeli.

Referee: Steven Hughes  Assistant Referees: Neal Templey and Simon Parbery, Fourth Official: Thomas Hood.

Attendance: 379

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn