The FA Vase – First Round Qualifying (Season 2018-19)
Venue: the Hawthorns
2018-19 Season – Match 12
Saturday 1st September 2018 – 3pm KO
Stanway Rovers: Yellow Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Shorts
White Ensign: White Shirts, Red Shorts, Red Shorts
Report by Scott W (Twitter: ScottMHC14)
The FA Vase roared into life for another season as this First Round Qualifying tie saw Essex Senior League side Stanway Rovers welcomed high-flying Eastern Senior League South outfit White Ensign. As you may well have seen on social media, the match was unfortunately but understandably abandoned given the nature of the serious leg injury suuffered by Ensign forward LIam Sewell. The player has had an operation today (Sunday) and I join the club and many others in the non-League community in wishing a speedy recovery.
With regards to the match, the following is a mini-report of the initial match, with the ‘replay’ due to take place this Tuesday.
Ensign started the match brightly as they looked to get their rapid attacking moves going, with player-boss Brett Munyard watched on from the sidelines. Rovers had the first half-chance though Harry Seal prodded wide of the post. The visiting forward line of Luke Skinner, Luke Sewell and Dominic Locke certainly gave the home defence nervous moments with their pace and running down the channels though couldn’t quite create many chances early on.
Stanway saw Jake Thompson and Callum Griff both send headers wide though Ensign defenders Dean Nevill and Andy George did a decent job of cutting out some of the searching balls to the home forwards. Midway through the half, a nervous clearance from centre-back Seal gave Ensign a corner, from which Luke Skinner’s low effort breached the defence into the net to put the visitors ahead. A crucial moment followed on 26 minutes as a foul by home defender Farley-Hearn on Locke in the area resulted in a spot-kick though the penalty was weak and home custodian Lewis Hawley held his nerve to make the save.
Rovers finished the first period strongly and levelled two minutes before the break as a good move led to Alfie Cleal’s cross picking out Griff whose powerful header beat Ensign stopper Tim Pitman.
Half-Time: Stanway Rovers 1 – 1 White Ensign
As the second-half began, The visitors began fairly well as a good ball in from Sewell on the Ensign right flank demanded a clearance from a home defender from under his own crossbar. In fairness though, Stanway were the stronger of the two sides in the second period, as wingers Marley Andrews and Lewis Stantial tested the visiting back-line.
That said, Stanway went ahead for the first time on 65 minutes through a superb curling 20-yarder from Harry Seal which flew into the top corner of the net past Pitman. Rovers could’ve extended that lead eight minutes later though skipper Teddy Nesbitt’s piledriver clattered into the woodwork and out of play. Ensign boss Brett Munyard came on for the last 20 minutes of the match (or that was the plan) and he was well-found direct from a long goal-kick from Pitman though the forward was crowded out before he could get a telling strike away at goal.
Soon afterwards, the incident which ultimately led to the postponement happened as forward Liam Sewell was challenged by Rovers substitute Jett Hogan. The referee adjudged it to be a dangerous tackle and promptly dished out the red card to Hogan. In my opinion, it was a crunching tackle though I don’t believe there was any malice in it though the way Sewell landed caused the forward to immediately express his discomfort strongly.
It was an unpleasant situation and the referee had no real choice to abandon the game some time later as the player involved couldn’t be moved and had to wait for an ambulance with the Ensign physio and team supporting him.
What matters though all things considered is Sewell’s wellbeing and I truly believe the whole Non-League community will wish him a very speedy recovery.
Match Abandoned (83 mins): Stanway Rovers 2 – 1 White Ensign
Thank you to Stanway for their hospitality on my first visit to the ground, a nice ground it is too. Best wishes to both sides for the rest of the season.