• Rob McNeil

Last-gasp Long Eaton progress to FA Vase fifth round




Jake Askew’s superb penalty save granted Long Eaton United a place in the Buildbase FA Vase fifth round proper for the first time in their history on Saturday.

The shoot-out win came after Kameron Campbell's 92nd minute equaliser had saved the tie for the hosts, Campbell then tucking away the first of the spot kicks.

Westfields' Sam Hunt then struck the visitors' first against the crossbar, Jamie Walker, Tom Marshall, James Taylor and Brad Wilson all then finding the back of the net for the Blues, with Jordan Wheatley having his penalty saved by Steve Sarkodie.

Fields netted four in a row after their initial penalty miss, before Askew made the all-important save to deny the visitors.

Ian Deakin put forward a very strong line-up in the Blues’ first competitive game in four months, despite top goal scorer Alex Marshall being suspended.

United looked fired up in the opening ten minutes. Wilson whipped a cross into the box and on to the head of Jamie Walker at the back post, but the header was gathered comfortably by Sarkodie.

Jake Askew makes the match-winning save during the penalty shoot-out. Photo: Long Eaton Utd FC.

Five minutes later, Marshall found a pass over to Campbell on the edge of the box, and the forward cut inside his man and struck the ball with his weaker foot, only for the ball to dip over the bar and onto the roof of the net.

It was the Fields who struck first with 15 minutes left in the first half, as Dan Stoneman found a pocket of space and with some excellent footwork inside the box, he was able to strike the ball across Askew and into the far corner of the goal.

The Blues launched a dangerous counter-attack through Campbell in the 37th minute, as the striker bombed forward but a heavy touch meant that the eventual shot was blocked and cleared by the Fields defence.

Minutes before half-time the visitors had an opportunity to extend their lead. After a late challenge on the edge of the box, Hunt was given free-kick duty for the away side, but although the shot had power, it lacked in accuracy as the shot curled away from the goal and did not trouble Askew.

Six minutes into the second half the Blues came close to levelling the score. Jamie Walker was given too much space down the right as he cut inside his man and struck the ball towards goal from just outside the box, but his effort was saved by Sarkodie.

The final 25 minutes of the match saw Keiran Walker launch four long throw-ins into the box, with all of them piling on the pressure but ultimately being cleared by the visitors.

Campbell clinched an equaliser for the Blues in the second minute of added time. A perfectly timed pass sent the striker through with a well-timed run, which resulted in Sarkodie dashing off his line, but the striker calmly poked the ball under the committed goalkeeper, colliding in the process but levelling the scoreline.

Long Eaton piled on the pressure in added time, but they could not find the winner and after 99 minutes of football, the match would in turn be decided by a penalty shootout, Askew's match-winning moment coming with the scores locked at 4-4 to send his team through.

Deakin has now faced two penalty shootouts as Blues boss and has won them both. This one, however, sends Long Eaton into the fifth round where they will face London side Hanworth Villa away from home next Saturday (24th).