Hadley 2 Pagham 1
Buildbase FA Vase 1st Round
Saturday 31st October
Hadley booked their place in the 2nd Round of the Buildbase FA Vase after overcoming Southern Combination League outfit Pagham. The Sussex-based club took a 52nd minute lead via Joe Bennett; but the Bricks scored two goals in quick succession as Shaz Anwar’s equaliser on the hour was swiftly followed by a Solomon Ofori goal which proved to be the clincher.
The Bricks had to showcase some brick wall defending straight from the off as Pagham went about pinging balls into the Hadley box which kept their defenders busy.
It was to be the hosts who had the first shooting opportunity when Sam Edwards had a free kick saved by Connor Kelly the Pagham keeper. Solomon Ofori then beat his marker in the 15th minute, charged into the box and was then fuelled by a hefty challenge which drew appeals from the home contingent, but the Referee who had a clearer view seeing as he was only yards away from the incident saw no foul play in the tackle at all and waved the penalty appeals away. Hadley regrouped quickly and moments later had put together a well worked move that resulted in Alfie Bartram dinking a shot towards goal which Kelly did well to save.
Tom Milton did have to put in a sliding tackle to dispossess Ollie Hambleton, and Pagham’s Jack Barnes and Sam Connolly both earned yellow cards for late tackles. Connolly was able to make amends for that indiscretion in the 24th minute when he had a powerful shot blocked, and the ball eventually worked its way to Jack Barnes who let fly with a low shot that whizzed narrowly past the right hand post.
Hadley however had the best chance of the game thus far in the 27th minute; Ofori again used his pace to get behind the Pagham defence, and from the left of the box centred to Jordan Edwards whose close range shot was kept out by Kelly. The next attack came via a Hadley free kick, taken by Sam Edwards, the ball ended up reaching Jordan Edwards who poked his shot wide despite being at close range.
Ofori was always looking dangerous, and he was looking to connect with a ball over the top in the 37th minute which forced Kelly to come out of his box to kick the ball clear. Then Jordan Edwards connected with another cross, but again placed his shot too high.
Pagham then had a chance to break the deadlock when they were awarded a penalty in the 41st minute. A ball into the Hadley box had been handled by Milton, but Luke Ward got down to his left to save the Jared Rance penalty, then got up and promptly dived to his right to keep out Connolly’s shot on the rebound.
Pagham started the second half on the front foot and Joe Bennett flashed a shot across Hadley’s goal in the 48th minute. It was to be a precursor of what was to follow because on 52 minutes a ball across Hadley’s box was poked home by Bennett. Pagham were now in the lead and in the driving seat.
That was until Hadley scored two quick goals to turn the game on its head. The equaliser came in the 60th minute as Ofori cut in from the left, centred to Shaz Anwar who drilled his shot past Kelly. Two minutes Ofori was fed with a ball on the right-hand side of the box and he advanced towards the Pagham goal before slotting the ball past the visiting keeper.
Hadley didn’t take the foot of the gas either because in the 70th minute Ofori, by now constantly terrorising the Pagham defence, again sped his way in, laying off Jordan Edwards who could only drag his shot wide.
The hosts certainly needed to get another goal as Pagham were now trying to attack in numbers and Paul Wright had to show some solid defending to head away a dangerous cross; then Ward had to palm away a long range howitzer from Tom Atkinson. Pagham continued to press as the game entered the final ten minutes.
In the final minute Ofori went on another run which resulted in him being fouled in the box. A penalty was awarded but Bartram’s penalty was saved by Kelly. It meant there was still stoppage time left, enough time for Pagham to find an equaliser. They nearly did so in the final seconds as a cross into the Hadley box was headed just over by Jake Heryet. The full time whistle went seconds later, causing Hadley’s players, management and fans to celebrate what had been a hard fought victory against an equally determined opponent.
Hadley: Luke Ward, Billy Baird, Alfie Bartram (Teddy Stacey 53′), Paul Wright (Capt), Bradley Marriott, Tom Milton, Solomon Ofori, Luke Alfano, Shaz Anwar, Sam Edwards, Jordan Edwards (Yemi Buraimoh 75′).
Scorers – Shaz Anwar (60′), Solomon Ofori (62′).
Pagham: Connor Kelly, Tom Atkinson, Ryan Hallett (Jake Heryet 86′), Jack Barnes, Connor Geoghegan, Jack Williamson (Capt), Ashley Hawkes (Grant Radmore 75′), Ollie Hambleton, Jared Rance, Sam Connolly, Joe Bennett.
Scorer – Joe Bennett (52′).