• Rob McNeil

United are spot on again to reach FA Vase quarter-finals




Long Eaton United are through to the quarter-finals of the Buildbase FA Vase for the first time in the club's history after a vital penalty shootout win against Hanworth Villa at Rectory Meadow on Saturday.

The Blues progressed in similar style to the previous round and will now host Berkshire side Binfield in the quarter-final at Grange Park on Saturday.

Ian Deakin made three changes to the starting 11 that beat Westfields on penalties last weekend. Sam Wilson replaced a slightly-ill Jake Askew, Jordan Wheatley replaced the suspended Tom Marshall and James Gale was handed his first competitive start as Shaw was dropped to the bench.

The visitors piled on the pressure in the opening 10 minutes – Merson thumped a strike from close range, after a succession of failed attempted clearances, which forced Sam Wilson into an early save.

Romaine Graham gets up for a header during the game at Hanworth Villa. Photo: Long Eaton United.

However, it was the Blues that opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Campbell was brought down inside the box after some exceptional footwork, and it was the dangerous forward that stepped up to take the penalty. He saw it saved by Terry Buss, but the forward was quick to chase down the rebound and strike over the diving keeper.

The Villains inevitably equalised minutes later, after Brandon Barzey bombed down the right, drove a cross into the box and forced Romaine Graham into an unfortunate own goal.

Hanworth found themselves in front with only ten minutes left to play in the first half. Barzey looked dangerous once again as he drove forward, beat his man, rounded the committed Sam Wilson and struck comfortably down the centre of the goal.

Long Eaton soon found themselves level, when Jamie Walker’s whipped cross forced Buss into an unconventional stop, but the rebound was once again tucked away by Campbell.

The Villains hoped to be ahead ten minutes into the second half as Merson was awarded a penalty for a questionable foul inside the box. The forward stepped up to take the penalty but saw it saved incredibly by Sam Wilson.

Soon after, Graham almost redeemed himself with a goal of his own, when a Keiran Walker long throw was controlled by Campbell and played to the captain to strike, however it was palmed over the bar by Buss.

Long Eaton were dealt a heavy blow in the 85th minute, when goal scorer Campbell received a second booking for a reaction to a foul whilst the Blues were on the attack.

Hanworth piled on the pressure in the final few minutes, with the man advantage, but they could not find a winner, and after 95 minutes of football the match would once again be decided by a penalty shootout.

Shaw netted the first penalty and Sam Wilson saved the Villains’ first, which meant he had now denied Merson from the penalty spot twice in the game.

Jamie Walker, Taylor and Gordon slotted the next three Long Eaton penalties away, with the hosts matching and netting their next three.

Brad Wilson stepped up to take the pivotal penalty and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal to secure United's progress.