Ascot race to FA Trophy victory over Lancing – Hassocks win crazy nine-goal FA Vase tie

Lancing will want to forget their visit to Ascot United’s Racecourse ground as they suffered a second half rout bringing their hopes of making further progress in the FA Trophy to an ignominious conclusion in a 6-2 defeat. But never mind eight goals in a game – there were nine as Hassocks won at Sheerwater in the FA Vase. Both reports below...
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Ascot United v Lancing

FA Trophy

Ascot United, current holders of the FA Vase having conquered Newport Pagnell Town at Wembley, were not going to go down without a fight and showed this early on taking the lead through prolific goalscorer, Brendan Matthew, with the game only 4 minutes old. It was not a particularly spectacular goal as the No10 ‘s effort crept slowly across the line.

Lancing in recent action v Carshalton in the FA Cup | Picture: Stephen GoodgerLancing in recent action v Carshalton in the FA Cup | Picture: Stephen Goodger
Lancing in recent action v Carshalton in the FA Cup | Picture: Stephen Goodger

This was an early warning sign, not heeded by Lancing, as Matthew went on to hit the net on 3 more occasions, bringing his total to 13 goals in 11 games this season and 60 from 65 since joining the Yellamen last season.

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Lancing were not unduly thrown off balance by falling behind so early and showed plenty of attacking threat, with Lukas Franzen-Jones forcing a one handed save from keeper Hugo Sobte before bringing his side level on 26 minutes. Kyle Sim won the ball in a solid tackle and delivered a fine pass to Franzen-Jones who cleverly curled the ball over the advancing keeper.

Ascot were full of threat down their left flank and it needed a desperate stretch from Dan Hull to prevent a cross from reaching Matthew who would have had a simple tap in to score.

Alieu Secka was quick to assess the danger from a ball through the middle and raced from his line to head clear. Lancing were being carved open and Secka had to dive bravely at the feet of onrushing Harvey Killeen to prevent him reaching the ball. Secka was injured in the process and Killeen was given a caution.

A little harsh, perhaps, for what appeared to be a 50/50 challenge. Alieu Secka was again called upon to head clear from the edge of the box, the ball falling to an Ascot player who lobbed the ball back towards the empty goal, but fortunately for Lancing Kyle Sim was in position to head behind for a corner.

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Just as it looked as if Lancing had secured themselves a recovery from the early set back and could enter the half-time dressing room in a composed state of mind, the defence failed to cut out a cross from the left and Matthew pounced again to restore his side’s lead.

Tyrone Madhani replaced Shay Matthews for the second half but before Lancing could settle into any sort of rhythm the odds became stacked against them on 47 minutes, as Matthew broke through a rather porous defence, to complete his hat trick.

Lukas Franzen-Jones continued to cause problems for the home defence and Seam McCormack was forced to pull him back to prevent a clear run on goal, for which the Ascot No7 receive a caution.

Secka kept Lancing’s hopes of a fight back alive, with a save at full stretch. Shortly afterwards, Ascot again showed a willingness to resort to foul means to stop any likely threat on their goal as Harry Tucker received a caution for halting Harry Heath’s attempt to get in behind the central defender.

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Jaevon Dyer came on for Alex Plummer on 58 minutes to bolster the Lancing attack but a minute later, if there were any realistic hopes of a Lancing revival, they were finally dashed as Harvey Killeen took advantage of an unfortunate howler by Secka,putting the ball on the plate for Killeen to plant into an empty net. A minute later it was 5-1 to the hosts as Matthew rounded Secka for his fourth.

Before Lancing could gather their breath it was 6-1 .Lalustini forced a save from Secka but the ball fell to McCormack to round off the scoring with a simple finish. It was almost 7 minutes later but for a fine save from Secka with his outstretched leg.

Lancing brought on recent signing Noel Fisher on 64 minutes for Charlie Gibson.

Franzen-Jones had more to say, however, as the game came to a close. Andrew Briggs provided him with a shooting opportunity but his effort was blocked. Franzen-Jones then struck the cross bar but in added time was rewarded for his persistence with well struck shot after good work by George Taggart – no more than a consolation goal with little time left.

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The least said about this game the better. Too many errors and a failure to match the effort shown by the trophy holders in the second half. Credit to Lancing for not throwing in the towel. With a bit of luck their late efforts might have produced less of painful score-line.

Only one possible candidate for committee and supporters ‘Player of the Match, Lukas Franzen-Jones, scorer of two well taken goals and, but for a fine one-handed save and a cross bar, might have matched Matthews’ four goals.

Lancing: Alieu Secka, Shay Matthews, Kyle Sim, Dan Hull, Charle Gibson, Andrew Brigs, Harry Heath, Alex Plummer,Alex Laing, Lukas Franzen-Jones, George Taggart. Subs: Leon Fisher, Noel Fisher, Tyrone Madhani,William Berry, Calum Dowdell, Jaevon Dyer, Jacob Thompson.

Sheerwater 4 Hassocks 5

FA Vase second qualifying round

After two operations and 361 days out injured, there could not have been a more apt winning scorer for Hassocks in their FA Vase tie at Sheerwater than Lewis Westlake.

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The Robins club captain has endured a nightmare year. False dawns and setbacks aplenty have littered the past 12 months leading up to the 89th minute at Eastwood Leisure Centre, when Westlake struck a glorious goal from a full 35 yards to finally decided a chaotic game of football 5-4 in favour of Hassocks.

That scoreline in itself looks absurd. It becomes even more so when you consider the Robins led 3-0 and 4-1, saw Matt Gunn sent off and then head coach James Westlake flashed a red card after the final whistle. And those two dismissals were the boring bits.

Given the carnage that was to unfold, it now seems strange that the first 15 minutes were so serene. Mike Williamson won a header against a Sheerwater player twice his height to create a half chance for Hassocks and Adam Belahcene then made the perfect run to spring the Robins offside trap only to fire off target.

The first effort on target for either side arrived on 18 minutes and it led to Hassocks taking the lead. Alfie Loversidge hung up a cross into the box which Liam Benson leapt like the proverbial salmon to meet and head home.

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Hassocks wanted a penalty on 20 minutes when a ball took a strange bounce off the 4G surface and hit a hand. Referee Andrew Tooley did not agree and waved play on, which was probably the right decision.

Also the right decision was Mr Tooley giving the Robins a spot kick six minutes later. Josh Mundy clipped a ball into the box and Jamie Wilkes went to ground like a man saving his wicket for Mid Sussex Heathens in their T20 Plate Final at Hove County Ground the following day. Tall striker Wilkes enjoyed a good weekend as the Heathens went onto beat Middleton IIIs.

Benson was having an equally profitable time. His initial penalty was saved by Billy Wilson but he finished the rebound to double the advantage.

Eight minutes later and Hassocks made it three. Home captain Dale Burnham looked suspiciously like Derek Acorah but he clearly doesn't have a spirit guide as effective as the famous Liverpudlian medium.

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Burnham would otherwise have known not to play a backpass latched onto by Loversidge, who rounded Billy Wilson and rolled into the empty net.

Going into half time and the conversation amongst the travelling support was that even Hassocks with their well known ability to veer from the sublime to the ridiculous could not blow a 3-0 lead in a game in which they looked in total and utter control. Oh ye of little faith. Within two minutes of the restart, Sheerwater pulled one back. Michael Milne won a flick on and David Armarteifio provided the finish.

Hassocks in fairness responded in the best way possible by adding their fourth of the afternoon seven minutes later.

Williamson led a counter from a Sheerwater corner, dinking a ball into Sean Stephenson. The winger produced a flurry of stepovers and then fired beyond Wilson from what appeared an impossible angle.

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Even in the context of such a madcap game, the next 10 minutes were wild. The Sheers scored on 56 through a brilliant Theo White distance strike and then again on 59. At this point, the stadium announcer summed things up perfectly by popping over the tannoy with: "I can't keep up with who has scored, but it's now Sheerwater 3-4 Hassocks."

Anthony Ogbanufe was in fact the scorer with a header from a White cross. And it did not stay Sheerwater 3-4 Hassocks for long either. Gunn was sent off on 62 and the Sheers levelled on 67, Obagnufe equalising with an obscene overhead kick which he set up himself. It would have been the goal of the game until Westlake was introduced to proceedings.

Hassocks brought on Pat Harding and Bradley Tighe in quick succession before Westlake, the steady flow of substitutions introducing a sense of normality to leave the prospect of penalties looming large.

And then with a minute of normal time remaining, Westlake picked the ball up in midfield. He had said whilst warming up that his new bleached blonde hair had drawn comparisons to Eminem and so if felt right that he picked out the top corner from eight miles out.

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There was not enough time left for the Sheers to launch yet another comeback and Hassocks moved into the first round proper of the competition for the first time since 2014.

Hassocks: Trigwell; Frankland, Gunn, Bygraves, Bull; Loversidge, Mundy, Williamson, Stephenson; Wilkes; Benson. Subs: B Tighe (Mundy 63), Harding (Stephenson 77), L Westlake (Wilkes 82), Blake, Fogden (unused).