• Rob McNeil

REPORT: Long Eaton progress in FA Vase by beating Selston

Long Eaton battled and overcame MFL rivals Selston at Grange Park on Saturday to progress into the first round proper of the Buildbase FA Vase.

Alex Marshall, Charlie Wilde, and Romaine Graham gave the Blues a comfortable lead going into half-time.

Connor Towes' rebound strike earned Selston a consolation midway through the second half, however, Mitchell Robinson extended Long Eaton’s lead with a determined strike late in the match. It took the Blues 22 minutes to open the scoring. Alex Marshall was able to latch onto a dangerous cross from Brad Wilson with a glancing header, and the ball managed to lob the committed Matthew Leam and nestle into the back of the net.

Jamie Walker gets a shot in against Selston. Photo: Long Eaton United

Minutes later Wilde doubled Long Eaton’s lead, as a pinpoint pass across the Selston defence played the winger through on goal, and after an initial save from Leam, Wilde was able to divert from a tight angle down the right.

Selston captain Ben Moore had the visitors' best chance of the half in the 34th minute when a free-kick from the centre 20 yards out was struck towards goal by Moore, however, Coombs pulled off a brilliant stop to deny the midfielder.

Seconds before the half-time whistle Graham made it three. In a packed box full of confusion, the Blues captain was able to poke a Tom Marshall cross past the keeper and into the bottom right corner.

Long Eaton started the second half by piling on the pressure and having four goal-scoring opportunities in the first five minutes.

The best of the chances came when Jude Brittain lifted a ball into the box and onto the diving head of Alex Marshall, however, the forward could not quite guide his header on target.

Towes got one back for the visitors in the 68th minute, after Kenan Layton forced a brilliant diving save from Coombs, but it was the Selston midfielder that got to the rebound first and fired into the empty net.

The Blues scored their fourth and final goal in the 80th minute, when Robinson chased down an over the top through ball, managed to beat the determined Leam to it, and then simply fired over the keeper and into the back of the net.

Brittain thought he had got on the scoresheet with one minute left of normal time. A combination of passes between Wilson, James Shaw, and Robinson, finally ended with a flicked pass onto the run of Brittain, and the midfielder then smashed the ball past the keeper only to be flagged offside.

To rub salt in the wounds, Sean Gregory was dismissed in the dying moments of the match, which meant the visitors finished with ten-men after the forward reacted to a foul with what looked to be an elbow in the back.

By Rob McNeil