• Rob McNeil

Long Eaton reach round four of the Vase for the first time

Long Eaton United are through to the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Vase for the first time in the club’s history after they beat Hanley Town 2-0 at Grange Park on Saturday.

Alex Marshall gave the Blues the lead early in the first half and, despite a red card for the goalscorer straight after half time, the Blues maintained their intensity and wrapped up a tenth consecutive win through Jamie Walker.

Ian Deakin named a side unchanged from the 3-2 victory against Stone Old Alleynians two weeks ago in the previous round of the FA Vase. It was a decision that paid dividends just 14 minutes into the match when Keiran Walker’s long throw-in fell for Alex Marshall to tuck away inside a crowded penalty area.

Keiran Walker almost scored a goal of his own minutes later as he glanced a header goalwards from Jamie Walker’s free-kick, only to be denied by Ben Chapman’s diving save.

Captain Romaine Graham had a lucky escape when he missed a clearance and played Kieran Brown through on goal but, under pressure from Graham, Brown fired a weak shot at goal which made for a routine Jake Askew catch.

Chapman was tested by Danny Gordon from the edge of the area towards the end of the first half, but the Hanley ‘keeper produced a fantastic fingertip save to deny the midfielder.

Alex Marshall fires home the opening goal. Photo: Long Eaton United.

The second-half began with a yellow card for Kyle Stubbs after a late barge on Tom Marshall and the half continued in similar vein.

Two minutes later, Kameron Campbell’s shot was parried out by Chapman - Alex Marshall slid in to hit the loose ball and caught Louis Anthony in the process. The referee did not appreciate the nature of the challenge and produced a red card.

Reduced to ten men the Blues found themselves momentarily backed into their own half. Substitute Brian Barton found space inside the box to fire a shot on goal before Keiran Walker made a great block at the near post.

Then Jamie Walker doubled the Blues’ lead in the 72nd minute from an impossible angle. Tom Marshall’s free kick found Jamie Walker on the byline who somehow volleyed the ball past the approaching goalkeeper and in off the inside of the far post.

The visitors were also reduced to ten men in the 80th minute of play. Campbell chased a long ball forward from Jamie Walker and was knocked down by Chapman as he leaped for the header. The Hanley shot stopper was given his marching orders and a defender took his place in goal.

Long Eaton remained strong in defence and saw out the victory with a well-earned sixth clean sheet of the season and a place in the club’s history books.