Non-league football round-up

PUBLISHED: 11:30 11 February 2008 | UPDATED: 13:49 04 March 2010


Stanway Rovers 1 Coventry Sphinx 3

FOR 90 seconds, Stanway Rovers' hopes and dreams of a last-eight FA Vase appearance looked right on the money, writes Mike Bacon.


Stanway Rovers 1 Coventry Sphinx 3

FOR 90 seconds, Stanway Rovers' hopes and dreams of a last-eight FA Vase appearance looked right on the money, writes Mike Bacon.

In an attritional game of cup football, one goal looked likely to be all that was needed to clinch a quarter-final place in this national competition, with Wembley beckoning.

And when Ray Turner expertly guided home a centre from the right past the helpless Ashley Hooker in the Coventry goal, it looked like it would be Stanway who were heading ever closer to the Wembley arch.

And, with just 20 minutes left after Turner's strike, all the home side needed to do was to shut up shop for 10 minutes and surely the tie would have been theirs. But it wasn't to be.

In an extraordinary finish, Sphinx, from the Midland Alliance Division, netted three times, the first and most crucial just 90 seconds after Turner's opener.

Straight up the other end the Midlanders went, not deflated from being behind, and from Casey Gaggini's inswinging corner the ball went over all the heads and, despite frantic efforts to clear it off the line at the back post, the ball was over and the equaliser stood.

Visibly stunned, Stanway were suddenly on the back foot. From a position of strength, they were now hanging on. And, as so often transpires at times like that, when you need a bit of luck to see things through, that luck deserts. Six minutes from time the excellent James Mace for Coventry won a free-kick and, when Tom Bates whipped the ball in, the only head it came off was a Stanway one - substitute Alex Drennan's - the 24-year-old defender's glancing blow flying into the top corner for an own goal. Poor Drennan had only been on the pitch nine minutes. It had all gone terribly wrong for Stanway.

In the dying minutes, Coventry substitute Chris Harris was twice through one-on-one with excellent teenager James Finch - Rovers' on-loan keeper from Maldon - and, although Finch saved once, the second time he never had a chance as Ed Kirby, another Rovers' substitute, hauled Harris down, got himself rightly red-carded and then had to watch as Bates tucked home the free-kick from some 19 yards out for Coventry's third.

The score flattered Coventry and Stanway will be bitterly disappointed they didn't play to their potential, because this was a game they could have won. Chances were at a premium in a good-tempered match, but only Ben Newson and Turner showed up well for the Essex side.

The Sphinx players celebrated joyfully with their 100 or so fans who made the occasion worth its value with their singing throughout.

But Stanway must learn from this. A bit more ruthlessness and it would be them and not Coventry in today's last eight draw.


Stanway: Finch, Curtis (off Kirby 46), B Newson, Crouch (off A Drennan 75), Gaisford, Burch, Callender, Harrop, Turner, S Newson, Harewood. Subs not used: Skeggs, Carter and Kelly

Coventry Sphinx: Hooker, Mace, Halton, D Drennan, Ward, Winterbottom, MaGuire (sub Harris 82), Gaggini (sub Rhodes 75), Bates (sub Haywood 90), Stevenson, Knibbs. Subs not used: Halton and Harrison.

Referee: Mr S Forest.

Attendance: 365.

St Ives Town 3 Needham Market 3 (after extra time)

THESE two sides will meet again at Bloomfields on Saturday after extra time failed to produce a winner in front of St Ives' biggest ever attendance of 769.

The home side took the lead after just five minutes when Graeme Thackray's shot from 20 yards beat Liam Jones at his far post. However, the lead was short-lived as Jay Denniss was on hand to toe-poke the ball into the net from a Needham free- kick.

Danny Laws introduced strikers Nathan Szyszlyk and Tommy Smith for the second half and it was Szyszlyk who was fouled with just 15 minutes left to give Needham a penalty. However, the normally reliable James Evans saw his spot-kick fly wide of the upright.

St Ives looked to have gained a placed in the last eight when Dan Moyes scored with a superb strike from 18 yards with just three minutes remaining.

But once again Needham bounced back through an unlikely source when Ben Wake made no mistake from close range to take the tie into extra time.

St Ives once again went in front with virtually the last kick of the first period of extra time through Barry Albone.

Seven minutes later it was all square again when Craig Parker's forceful run saw him evade four tackles before Szyszlyk forced the ball home from six yards. Jones then had to make a top-drawer save in the last minute to keep his side in today's quarter-final draw.

Lowestoft Town 2 Dunston Federation 1

History was made when Lowestoft produced an upset to stun Dunston - a side considered second-favourites in this year's competition - to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

A rollercoaster of a game saw Town hit two goals in the opening 20minutes, only for Dunston to pile on the heat in the second half and score a dramatic consolation goal eight minutes before time.

Lowestoft made a dream start when a wicked Richard Woodrow cross was headed over his own bar by Michael Robson and Jamie Godbold's inswinging corner rocketed over everybody and into the top corner.

Bradley Hough volleyed into the side netting following Reece Hunn's brilliant wing play before Lowestoft went two-up.

A Woodrow free-kick from just inside the Dunston half was missed by everyone inside the penalty area,and Darren Cockrill stole in to bravely slide in with goalkeeper Andrew Clark to toe-poke home.

Hunn was unfortunately forced off through injury midway through the half after a couple of hefty challenges and Laws, Young and Robson were all booked as the visitors' frustration threatened to boil over.

King almost made it three six minutes before the break when his corner - identical to Godbold's strike - was tipped away shakily by Clark before Devine saw a close-range header blocked by Marcus Saunders'

The visitors kept huffing and puffing, and eventually pulled one back on 82 minute when Harkin's hanging free-kick wasn't dealt with by the Blues defence and Preen was on hand to poach an opportunistic strike.

Preen and Young then had chances at the death to force extra time but Lowestoft kept their discipline and rode their luck to confirm their name in the draw for the last eight.


Bath City 0 Braintree Town 0

BRAINTREE returned from Bath City with a precious point on Saturday thanks to a magnificent display by the back four and goalkeeper Nicky Morgan.

The Iron were under the cosh from the start as City looked to get back to winning ways having taken just one point from their last three matches.

Time and again Bath found openings in the first half but fine defending and a little luck kept Braintree on terms, even surviving a penalty given for a foul on Luke Prince which Hogg blasted wide.

Braintree improved in the second half and created some real chances to win the game.

First Tony Boot found space in the area for a shot but City keeper Paul Evans was quickly down to turn his low shot round the post and Lee Burns late on could have won it with a drive that looked to be on its way to the net before a City defender managed to get a touch and turn the ball wide of the far post.


Chelmsford City 0 AFC Hornchurch 4

JEFF King's Clarets succumbed to a real shock at Melbourne as their unbeaten home record disappeared before their eyes against Essex rivals AFC Hornchurch.

The Urchins' devastating late rally put-paid to City's ambitions of going the season without defeat at their fortress base and, though the loss is probably of little consequence towards where Chelmsford will finish this campaign, it was a severe wake-up call to the players ahead of the final title run-in.

A blow was suffered early on when right-back Greg Oates was forced to leave proceedings inside the first ten minutes with a horrid knee injury but the Clarets did craft several opportunities in the first half, James Lawson drilling wide when through on goal and Bertie Brayley causing constant problems with a handful of shots and a dangerous cut-back which wasn't converted by his team-mates.

However, the visitors broke the deadlock on 32 minutes, a right-wing delivery creeping in-between everyone in the box to Michael Brothers at the far post and he found the bottom corner first-time.

After the interval Chelmsford will have looked to rescue the situation though pivotal midfielder Ollie Berquez was stupidly sent off for kicking-out at an opponent and the final stages were conducted forcefully by the away side, starting with a deft lob by Simon Parker which made it 2-0 on 74 minutes.

Just a minute later Frankie Curley gobbled up a loose ball to place it firmly into the net for number three before Parker sprinted away with seven minutes remaining and rounded goalkeeper Danny Gay to slot home. Chelmsford, though, remain 15 points clear at the top.

Heybridge Swifts 0 Ashford Town 6

WITH both sides needing points to pull away from the relegation zone a close contest was anticipated, but it was not to be.

The visitors took the early initiative and never lost control, Swifts giving a listless display, perhaps a hangover from Tuesday night's endeavours against Southend United, and lacking energy and commitment.

After four minutes sloppy defending allowed the pacey Byron Harrison to lob the ball over Ollie Saunders as he advanced off his line, and Harrison raced around to net into an empty goal to put Ashford ahead. Two minutes later and their lead was doubled, Harrison once again on hand as a standard cross from the right somehow eluded the Swifts' defence.

A surging run from Paul Johnson could have given Ashford a third but for a last-ditch tackle from Danny Barber. Swifts had one chance in the first period, an effort from Sean Marks cleared off the line after a corner, Mark Reddaway mis-kicking the rebound wide.

Saunders saved a long-range effort from Ashford's Gavin Smith with his feet but Ricky Wellard was the first to react and give Ashford a deserved 3-0 interval lead. Swifts looked sharper immediately after the break but Ashford were always the more incisive and scored a crucial fourth, Smith waltzing through a static home rearguard to net with ease. Soon afterwards and the impressive Darren Deegan once more surged forward on the left and was brought down inside the penalty area by Daryl Bourgeois; Harrison converting the spot-kick for his hat-trick.

Smith made it six for the visitors, sliding the ball home after Wellard had beaten Dave Wareham to the ball and advanced to the bye line to square across the area.


Great Wakering Rovers 5 Witham Town 0

THIS was a dreadful result for Witham and a dreadful performance from most of the team as the new management team of Tony Last and Paul Daley fail to get their first win since taking over a month ago.

Witham had a new player in the team in Danny Shipton and he was one of the players to have a respectable game.

The Rovers went ahead after 10 minutes when a extra long throw-in found James Foy who headed just out of reach of Stuart Crumpen and Foy scored the second when put through to shoot under Crumpen. Witham's best chance came just before half-time when Rob King shot over, at the same time Witham changed keepers with Glenn Johnson, who was making his debut, taking over from Crumpen.

Five minutes after the break Martin Tuohy scored a third with an easy tap-in that put the game out of Witham's hands, but Phil Goodwin had a brilliant shot saved by Louis Green who then saved a fierce shot from Cody McDonald. Foy completed his hat-trick when heading from close range in the 71st minute and four minutes later Elliott Gresham completed the scoring with a looping header over the stranded Johnson. Witham's bad day was completed when McDonald received a second yellow card and was sent off just before the final whistle.

AFC Sudbury 2 Dartford Town 2

A HIGHLY-controversial equalising goal denied AFC Sudbury victory over league leaders Dartford on Saturday. It came after the home side had recovered from going a goal behind to take the lead before the hotly-disputed effort.

Dartford had taken a 22nd-minute lead with a tame goal. Norman's free kick from the halfway line was headed down in the goalmouth by Guest with keeper Neil watching the ball roll into the corner of the net.

AFC Sudbury equalised with a well-worked goal from a flowing up field move which ended with Heath chipping the ball over the defence for Rowe to crash the ball Kessell. The keeper then dived to save at Boardley's feet but from the resultant corner he dropped Boardley's corner and Rowe scored with an acrobatic overhead kick.

Then came the controversial goal when Hayes crossed to the far post where Cass and Neil challenged for the ball which looked to have been cleared but the referee awarded a goal which subsequently was shown not to have crossed the line by Press photography.

Both sides had chances to win the game in the second half, Neil saving from Cass and then the same player twice going close with fierce rising shots.

For AFC Sudbury Boardley's in-swinging free-kick almost caught out Kessell and in the last few minutes the keeper dived full length to punch away a goal-bound shot from Heath.

Enfield Town 1 Maldon Town 0

A SOLITARY goal in first-half injury time saw Maldon consigned to defeat at Enfield Town.

With Steve Wareham on a school skiing trip and Dean Parrott ill, Russell Tanner had to change his team around. Straight from the start Enfield Town gave notice that Maldon's defence were going to have a busy afternoon, especially Darren Gould in the Maldon goal who was called on to make some brilliant saves to keep Maldon from being trounced.

Maldon did have their chances but generally they didn't give their travelling supporters anything to shout about, and in injury time Enfield's persistent attacking football paid off when Gould was unable to keep out a shot from Brian Hammett to give Enfield Town a half-time lead.

The second half started with Enfield continuing to give Maldon a hard time and again Gould came into his own. Maldon's centre half Ollie Blackwell was replaced early in the second half with a recurring injury, with Ross Parmenter coming on to give the Maldon attack a bit of width and gradually Maldon came back into the game, which led to some exciting end-to-end football for the last half an hour of the game, with Enfield Town just hanging on to their lead.

Wivenhoe Town 1 Bury Town 3

A DECISION to bring this game forward to Friday night was rewarded with a bigger crowd for Wivenhoe but again nothing on the pitch as Bury returned to Suffolk with all three points.

There was little between the sides before Bury won a penalty in the 38th minute, with Cornwall making no mistake from the spot. The visitors had a good period after that and in truth the home side were probably grateful for the break.

After the interval Wivenhoe looked the more likely when Bethell was fouled and Flack scored from the spot to equalise. Having deservedly got on level terms a defensive error 60 seconds later presented Sam Reed with the opportunity to fire Bury ahead which he duly did. The Dragons huffed and puffed though rarely bothered Greygoose in the Bury goal and paid the penalty in the 87th minute when Lee Reed slotted home for Bury's third.


Swaffham Town 0 Kirkley & Pakefield 3

LOOKING for a win that would take them to fifth place in the table, Kirkley & Pakesfield made hard work of beating a no-nonsense Swaffham side.

In an instantly forgettable scoreless first half of non-football, the visitors the lead from a penalty, when Blyth was scythed down, and Jamie Stokeld made easy work of the spot kick.

A poor match was livened up in the final 10 minutes when Kirkley's young Ian Dawson strode through to plant a firm shot past Norris.

Kirkley ended up with a slightly flattering 3-0 win when a 40-yard free-kick flew in from Jamie Stokeld via the underside of the bar after 86 minutes.

Woodbridge Town 3 Felixstowe & Walton Utd 2

GERARD Nash poked the ball over the line after Danny Crump had saved his first effort in the 88th minute to win the points for Woodbridge Town in an entertaining local derby match.

Sean Bell gave the Seasiders an 18th minute lead, meeting a corner kick unchallenged with a rising drive but Ben Seaman equalised for the Woodpeckers on the half-hour after spotting Crump off his line and chipping in from 25 yards.

An intriguing midfield battle ensued for the first half hour of the second half with tackles going in hard as both sides looked to gain the advantage which went Woodbridge's way on 70 minutes as Grant Monaghan's shot was deflected into his own net by Alan Mills. Woodbridge then surrendered their lead cheaply, again failing to deal with a corner which De'ath turned in at the far post.

Nash's late winner was his third goal in two games and with the bottom six clubs all losing Woodbridge earned the opportunity to rise to 14th place should they make it three wins in a row when they entertain Stanway Rovers tomorrow evening.

Leiston 1 Ipswich Wanderers 0

A GOAL six minutes from time from 18-year-old Luke Eagle settled this tepid match.

In a game that was devoid of any real goalmouth action it was fitting that a scrappy goal should secure Leiston's second successive home win and extend their unbeaten run to six games. The closest the home side came in the first half was a Boyland strike and Allen hitting the side netting while Wanderers saw Allen and Smy blaze over.

Early in the second half George saw a cross strike the top of the bar, and J Chenery headed wide before Eagle's late winner, prodding home from three yards after eluding two tackles inside the six-yard box.

Wroxham 7 Harwich & Parkeston 0

HARWICH & Parkeston were hit for seven at reigning champions Wroxham.

The home team cruised into a 4-0 lead by the break thanks to two goals from Andy Key and one apiece from Steve Harley and Gavin Lemmon.

It was one-way traffic after the interval with Key scoring twice more either side of a goal from Shaun Howes.

Mildenhall Town 1 CRC 1

EARLY play was dominated by the home side but was littered with free kicks for mainly petty fouls. New boy Paul Musgrove was involved with much of the home side's early play but wayward passing from both sides limited goalmouth action.

Nower had to save well from Hunter before Hyem, who had just been booked, was stretchered off with a bad injury. Sands netted for Mildenhall but was ruled offside but opened the scoring after 34 minutes when he fired home from a perfect through ball from Musgrove.

CRC were level immediately after the break when a free kick bounced around in the home box before taking a deflection off a defender and looping over Nower who managed to hook it out but it had crossed the line.

The remainder of the half was well contested but there was no more scoring and a draw was a fair result.


Tiptree Utd 5 Fakenham 1

LEAGUE leaders Tiptree overwhelmed their visitors from the opposite end of the table with a comprehensive 5-1 victory.

After some initial end-to-end play it was the visitors who stunned the home support by taking the lead, when the Tiptree defence let Ben Darby to run at them before passing to Nicky Haynes who chipped Darren Smith from close range.

But it didn't take long for Tiptree to equalise, when Gary Wraight floated a free kick into the penalty area and Tommy Noble rose highest to head home.

Tiptree took the lead after 31 minutes when leading goalscorer Tommy English tapped home after Daniel Stockdale in the Fakenham goal was unable to hold Noble's powerful shot. With six minutes remaining in the half Jamie Arlick fired home from close range through a crowd of players after Fakenham failed to clear a corner.

The fourth goal came on 56 minutes when Darg bundled home following Owen's free kick and with 12 minutes left Owen's initial goal-bound shot was blocked but Noble followed up to score.

Gorleston 3 Stowmarket Town 3

STOWMARKET saw a two-goal half-time lead turned into a 3-2 deficit inside 11 minutes before earning a point with a last-minute equaliser.

The visitors led 2-0 inside eight minutes thanks to two goals from Phil Dellar. The first came from Ricky Deasy's whipped in cross that hit the bar and Dellar prodded home after just 33 seconds before he lobbed home keeper Marsden from the edge of the area with a sweet finish.

Little had been seen of Gorleston, who had not been beaten since November, in the first half but that all changed in a rip-roaring second period.

After 57 minutes Bell netted with the visiting players all appealing for offside and two minutes later it was all square, Austin King was adjudged to have fouled Todd and Richie Butler crashed home the spot kick via the crossbar.

Nathan Thompson ran clear of the square visitors' defence after 68 minutes to shoot past Ross Charters, but King outjumped everybody from a corner to head home and earn Stowmarket a share of the spoils.

Debenham LC 3 Gt Yarmouth Town 2

IAN Gedny put Yarmouth on the spot with a brace of penalties that settled this enthralling contest. Stuart Roach had given the Bloaters an early lead as the visitors dominated the opening 20 minutes.

Jamie Abbott dragged Debenham back into the game with a shot the went in via the inside of a post and Gedny gave the Hornets a fortuitous half-time advantage. Despite a sticky pitch the football flowed in the second period and Gedny extended Debenham's lead only for Roach to net his second of the afternoon.

But for the brilliance of Yarmouth keeper Elliott Pride Gedny would have claimed a second successive hat trick in this fixture and with play switching from end to end 17-year-old Joe Clements, making his Debenham debut, produced a great save to deny Nick Crawley a late equaliser.

Hadleigh Utd 3 Long Melford 1

THREE goals in the first half put Hadleigh on the way to victory. Melford reduced the deficit in the second half, but never looked like getting back into the match.

Kingston slipped in the first goal after 17 minutes and Chris Smith headed the second in the 31st minute. A powerful shot by Dennett made it three on 38 minutes.

Melford's only goal came after 53 minutes when Delves fired home at the second attempt after hitting the post.

Diss Town 0 Whitton Utd 0

THIS game will be remembered only for the bizarre refereeing performance of Andrew Snell.

The official somehow managed to issue nine yellow cards as players and management from both sides were left in a state of bemusement.

Whitton were much the better side in the first period and should have taken the lead with a quarter of an hour played when Camillio Douglas was upended in the area by Steve Best but Duane Wright dragged the subsequent spot kick wide. The visitors had another great opportunity on the half hour with Douglas blazing over with only the keeper to beat.

After this point the game degenerated and there were numerous stoppages and lectures from the referee. The second period saw eight yellow cards issued as the game descended into a farce. Neither side managed a shot on target during what little football there was and it was a merciful relief when the game was finally brought to a close.

Halstead Town 0 Cornard Utd 0

HALSTEAD lost two valuable points in their promotion chase when they were unable to break down lowly Cornard who staged a real backs-to-the-wall performance, but it was the failure to take their chances that led to the home side's stutter.

At least Halstead chalked up their fourth consecutive clean sheet - a feat last achieved five seasons ago.

Right from the start Halstead were on the attack with Danny Rowell's header denied by a fine save from keeper Colin Athey, one of several he made throughout the game, while his opposite number, Paul Rutherford had very little to do.

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