• Rob McNeil

Long Eaton strike late to seal FA Vase progress

Alex Marshall’s brace helped Long Eaton United equal their best ever FA Vase run as they edged past Stone Old Alleynians 3-2 to progress into the third round.

Both sides scored almost identical goals in the first half, a low driven cross that required a tap in from Alex Marshall and Matthew Thomas respectively so that both sides went in level at half-time.

Danny Gordon then put the Blues in front midway through the second half, before Ryan Goodwin equalised once again for the visitors and Alex Marshall got his second and the winner minutes before full-time.

Ian Deakin boasted a very strong line-up, with the knowledge that the North West Counties Football League side are not ones to be underestimated.

It took only four minutes for the Blues to open the scoring. Jamie Walker was alive and quickly intercepted a poor defensive clearance before he worked his way to the by-line and found Alex Marshall open inside the box for a comfortable tap in.

Kameron Campbell had a chance to double the Blues’ lead minutes later, as a Jake Askew goal kick flew all the way to edge of the box and was controlled by the forward. He was then able to turn and strike venomously towards goal, but Adam Alcock saved well.

Jamie Walker and Alex Marshall embrace after Long Eaton score. Photo: Long Eaton United.

Dominic Thorpe forced Askew into an incredible reaction save in the 20th minute when the midfielders thumping half volley was saved low by the palm of the Blues keeper.

Old Alleynians equalised mid-way through the first half after Liam Hickson was able to work his way down the right and fire a cross to Thomas, open inside the box for an easy tap in.

A quiet end to the first half was then recovered by a feisty start to the second half, one that saw five yellow cards in 25 minutes.

However, Long Eaton did take the lead in the 60th minute. Brad Wilson fired a cross into the box, and after a slight flick, Gordon was able to volley sweetly past Alcock at the far post.

The Blues could have extended their lead minutes later when an initial Campbell strike was blocked, but Alex Marshall followed up only to blaze his effort over the bar.

Hickson was then given too much time on the ball, as he worked his way down the right and into the box to shoot, but luckily for Askew, his strike flew way over the bar.

The visitors equalised once again 10 minutes before full time after a cross pinballed inside the box and fell to Goodwin to strike with a half volley into the bottom right corner.

But, with two minutes left on the watch, Alex Marshall clinched the Blues’ qualification into the third round of the FA Vase.

Jamie Walker looped an exceptional corner towards the far post, and the unmarked Marshall was simply allowed to direct the ball past the staggering keeper and into the back of the net with his chest.