FA Vase Fourth Round: Farnham Town 1-2 Bridgwater United

BRIDGWATER United have advanced into the Fifth Round Proper of the Isuzu FA Vase after defeating Farnham Town away from home at the weekend, writes Bob Buckingham. 

It was a tense match that ended 1-2 in favour of the Robins who on the whole were deserved winners.

However in early December, and ahead of the draw for the fourth round of this prestigious competition, the consensus amongst Robins’ supporters was, ‘first and foremost let’s have a home draw or, at least definitely not an away trip to Falmouth Town or Farnham Town.

Squad news wise, Ross McErlain had been recalled by Cribbs, Luke Newman was cup tied and Harry Horton and Jason Quick were missing with injuries.

Sadly, things were soon far from perfect for the visitors as, with less than a minute gone, Jack Taylor was on the end of a crude tackle from the Farnham right midfielder and was forced to leave the field immediately, to be replaced by Adam Wright.

Soon after, the Robins were in the ascendency as their high tempo possession-based approach created several half chances and was clearly causing frustration as both Koroma and Captain Hollis were booked within minutes of each other.

Deep into added time, it was that man King who, wide on the left, crossed for Jack Thorne at the near post who saw his audacious flick go narrowly wide to ensure that the first period, full of entertaining football, ended all square.

In the early exchanges of the second period, both sides worked hard to create the much-needed breakthrough as Flatman and Dean combined well to create another chance for Postance, thwarted once more the quality centre back combination of Armstrong and Thorne.

The threat on the Robins’ goal was rising as, on the hour mark, the hosts were awarded a free kick on the very edge of the box.

With excellent organisation that threat was dispelled and, within seconds, United had earned their own set play on the edge of the Farnham box, which Tom Llewellyn incredibly smashed over the wall and into the top corner to make it 0-1.

The urgency from home side was now palpable. Being behind late in the game was not part of their plan. 12 minutes remained.

Substitute Owen Dean had made a real impact since entering the fray with his surging his runs down the right causing problems on several occasions.

However, he was frustrated by yet another timely interception by Dave Thorne, and Dean’s late challenge on Armstrong gave the referee no choice but to brandish the red card and reduce the hosts to 10.

In the 86th minute, Farnham had another freekick on the edge of the box is deflected for a corner. Kinnane rises high on the far edge of the 6-yard box; his looping header appears to be cleared off the line. Huge appeals from both sides; Assistant Referee is consulted; goal is given 1-1.

With just three minutes on the clock, Bridgwater decided to play more direct and Jake Llewellyn clipped the ball deep into the left-hand channel where it was looped into King who gleefully drove it home off the inside of the left post.

A very impressive response to the equaliser from Bridgwater and now they just had to hold on. And they did.

The performance, and the win ensured Bridgwater United have defied all odds and are in the draw for Round Five for the third time in their history.