BALDOCK TOWN 1 STANWAY ROVERS 0
By Mike Godfrey
Buildbase FA Vase 2nd Qualifying round
On a warm, sunny, but ultimately breezy September Sunday afternoon at the New Lamb Meadow, Baldock Town progressed safely through into the 1st Round proper of the Buildbase FA Vase with a 1-0 victory against Essex Senior League outfit Stanway Rovers.
With the wind making it essential to keep the ball on the ground, the final scoreline did not do justice to the home side’s dominance and indeed, if not for the woodwork saving Rovers in the 2nd half, the tie would have been settled far earlier than it was.
The 1st period was fairly uneventful and very much forgetful until the last minutes. Both Owen Robertson and Kieran Barnes on either flank worked hard into the strong breeze and reliable workhorse Kim Forsythe grafted tirelessly. But a minute before the interval, Robertson broke away down the left hand side and crossed for unfortunate Stanway defender Danny Nesbitt, who was under pressure, to slide the ball into his own net.
After the break, and with the breeze at their backs, Baldock started to take the initiative and the action took place pretty much all in the Stanway half throughout the 2nd period. One or two questionable offside decisions spoiled, which was on the whole, a good afternoon for officials Mr McKenzie-George and his assistants, but it was the crossbar which was to ultimately foil the home side’s attempts to increase their advantage.
On the 69 minute mark, a Lewis Barker header clipped the bar, while 8 minutes later a turn and thunderous shot from Kim Forsythe made the whole goal framework rattle!
With the score still standing at 1-0, the last few minutes were quite nervy for the Reds as the visitors suddenly realised that an equaliser would secure them an undeserved period of extra time. The away goalkeeper left his goal and made his way up to the opposing box in an attempt to help secure a leveller and if not for some quick thinking by Adam Harpur in the Baldock goal, we would have been watching a further 30 minutes of football.
As it was, to the relief of the Reds, the referee eventually blew the final whistle and Baldock Town went into the hat for the 1st Round proper.
BALDOCK TOWN: Harpur, M Lee, Furness, Gilbert, Kenna (c), Brooks, Barnes, L Barker, Holland (Brettell 57), Forsythe (Bull 80), Robertson (Decker 88).
Unused subs A Barker, Farmer
44 mins - Own goal