Stanway Rovers 4 – Formby 2
Formby Football Club’s Wembley dream is finally over when they were knocked out of the F.A Carlsberg Vase by Ridgeons League side Stanway Rovers in Essex on Saturday but managed to fight their way back from two-goals down to force extra time.
With both sides tiring in extra-time, Stanway managed to dig deep and find some extra reserves and settled the tie with two late goals to break Formby’s hearts. It was a disappointing end to Formby’s Vase run, which had seen them break their own club record by reaching the last 32 for the first time in their history.
Both sides started the game frantically looking to take advantage in the opening stages but largely cancelled each other out in midfield. However as the half progressed, Stanway started to dominate and caused the visitors plenty of problems, with the defence struggling to cope with the pace of the Stanway front-line.
Formby goalkeeper Lee Gunnion was called into action on 20 minutes when he made a double save off Stanway’s Sam Newson, who had managed to evade the Formby offside trap and broke through on goal. Gunnion was powerless to prevent the home side taking the lead just five minutes later when striker Ray Turner left defender Stephen Rose for dead and fired past the advancing keeper.
The Squirrels struggled to find a way back in to the game with Martyn Wilson having the only real chance of the half.
There was little improvement at the start of the second, with Stanway looking the most likely of the two sides to score again.
The goal eventually arrived on 68 minutes when Angelo Harrop squeezed the ball home following a goalmouth scramble.
The second goal could have killed Formby off however they were given a lifeline with just ten minutes remaining when substitute Rob Dutton crossed into the Stanway area. A mix-up between defenders and goalkeeper saw the ball nestle into the back of the Stanway net.
Formby’s spirits were immediately raised and they pushed forward looking for the equaliser. It was striker Paul Lamb who duly responded with just three minutes remaining when he battled his way into the Stanway area and fired past goalkeeper Church to send the visiting fans wild.
The Squirrels almost stole victory in the dying seconds when skipper John Garnell latched on to an in swinging Wilson corner but he blasted over the bar from close range and the game went into extra time.
Formby started the first period of extra-time strongly, buoyed by their comeback and looked the most likely of the two sides to score as Stanway began to tire. However as extra time went on, the Formby players began to flag also. Ultimately, it was Stanway who managed to find some extra energy and regained the lead with just six minutes remaining when midfielder Mark Gaisford headed home from close range.
Formby’s frustrations were compounded with the subsequent dismissal of striker Steve Cavanagh who was given a second yellow card after a bringing down a Stanway player who was shielding the ball by the corner flag.
Stanway’s fourth arrived three minutes later when substitute Luke Callender received a short corner, ran to the edge of the Formby area and rifled a shot past Gunnion.
Although Formby will be disappointed that their Wembley dreams are over for another season, they will be rewarded for reaching the fourth round by receiving a bye until the second round of next season’s competition – where hopefully they will be able to progress further in the competition.
GOALS: TURNER (25mins)1-0, HARROP(68mins)2-0, DUTTON (80mins)2-1, LAMB (87mins)2-2, GAISFORD (114min)3-2, CALLENDAR (117mins)4-2.
STANWAY ROVERS: CHURCH, CURTIS, EMMERSON, CROUCH, GAISFORD, BURCH, NEWSON, HARROP, TURNER, NEWSON, HAREWOOD. SUBS: CALLENDER, SKEGGS, KIRBY, DENNIS, CARTER.
FORMBY: GUNNION, CRAIG, D.JONES, ROSE, KERR, GARNELL (Sub. HOWARD 110mins), MORLEY (Sub. DUTTON 63mins), DERMOTT (Sub. TURNER 81mins), CAVANAGH, LAMB, WILSON. SUBS NOT USED: ROBINSON, P.JONES.
REFEREE: MR MICHAEL GEORGE (NORFOLK).
MAN OF THE MATCH: JOHN MORLEY.
SENT OFF: CAVANAGH (FORMBY).
Report by Paul Lawler