May & Baker 0 Swaffham Town 1
Buildbase FA Vase 2nd Round
Sunday 4th November
It proved to be a step too far as May & Baker’s debut Vase campaign was finally shattered in cruel circumstances on Sunday. Swaffham Town returned to Norfolk having scored the only goal of the game in this tight 2nd Round battle in stoppage time. It was the classic sucker punch as May & Baker had perhaps had the better of the chances.
The hosts had the first effort inside the opening five minutes as Sam Dickens let fly with a shot that almost dipped under the cross bar. And May & Baker went on to win a succession of early corners as well. Swaffham Town had a free kick that Nick Castellan delivered, providing Michael Gooch with his first save of the game.
But after that early showing the play then became scrappy as neither side was prepared to give the other an inch. Both defences remained lock tight although Alex Vincent did have a Swaffham free kick that almost reached Dean Miller at the back post. Swaffham were able to tease out some half chances, but Vincent and Tommy Hunt could only skew their efforts well wide of the target.
Conor Okus went on a run for May & Bakers that looked promising, until he was swamped out. And Swaffham’s frontline was having their service line cut due to Joe Maskell cutting out a number of balls that were targeted towards the May & Baker penalty area. It meant that Gooch had little to do, although safe hands were required when Castellan sent over a promising cross into the six-yard box.
Swaffham were able to prise out an opening in the 42nd minute with Matty Gilchrist have a shot blocked and then a minute late May & Baker were on the front foot, with Kiel Chandler unleashing a dipping shot that brought out an exquisite save from Rix, who tipped the ball over the bar. And May & Baker ended the half launching another attack as Dickens threaded a ball through to Daniel Gilchrist, but Rix was off his line quickly and smothered the ball. The first half had been a battle, would the game open up in the second period?
Vincent was able to fire a blank inside the opening minute of the re-start. May & Baker didn’t take long to get the ball in Swaffham’s box either, with Besmir Hoxhaj muscling his way in before being hustled off the ball by Dean Miller. Miller was one of the stand out players; his defending was one of the reasons May & Baker were not having much to feed on upfront. And the hosts had their own defensive powerhouse in the shape of Joe Maskell. Maskell had actually gone down for treatment midway through the first half. But he carried on; head patched up by a bandage, and continued to halt a number of Swaffham moves as the second half wore on in the same tight vein as the previous forty-five.
Games as tight as this don’t throw up many opportunities, and May & Baker wasted one in the 55th minute after good approach play by Dickens, the ball then reached Craig Hall on the right flank, who then sped past his marker but then miscued his shot having carved out a good opportunity for himself.
The hosts then had a spell of dominance but goalkeeping brilliance from Rix held them at bay. A turn and volley from Gilchrist was parried by the Swaffham Number One; then Okus charged into the box, held off a defender, before firing off a shot that Rix tipped over. At this stage May & Baker were trying to put down a marker, Rix had shown he was not going to be beaten easily and his defence also blocked, deflected and challenged for every ball.
With twenty minutes remaining the game was tight with the balance leaning slightly towards the hosts. A succession of May & Baker corners made the Swaffham defence do some work but the hosts were unable to cause any damage and the clock ticked towards the final minutes, with extra time looming.
In games as tight as this you have to take your chances and Jackson failed to take his in the 89th minute. Vincent put on a burst of speed, took off down the left wing and then centred to Jackson who side-footed his shot wide from close range.
May & Baker’s run was ended two minutes later though when Luke Reed made good with his opportunity. Vincent fired in a cross-shot that Gooch got a hand to, but Reed saw his chance, pounced on the ball, and stabbed the rebound into the back of the net, ending May & Baker’s Vase campaign in stoppage time.
May & Baker: Michael Gooch, Craig Hall, Joe Maskell, Dean Hall (Capt), Henry Osei, Sam Dickens, Conor Okus, Kiel Chandler (Reece Tranter 71’), Tom Harvey, Besmir Hoxhaj (James Barlow 62’), Daniel Gilchrist.
Swaffham Town: Tommy Rix, Danny Tindall, Lus Duarte (David Weaver-Pope 69’), Dean Miller, Matty Gilchrist, Ryan Pearson, Nick Castellan, Tommy Hunt (Luke Reed 80’), Kyle Plumb (Sam Carter 75’), Alex Vincent (Capt), Joe Jackson.
Scorer – Luke Reed (90+1’).