Fakenham make history with more Vase penalty drama
FA Vase third round
Fakenham Town 2
Milton Keynes Irish 2
(Fakenham win 4-2 on penalties)
Fakenham Town are into the last 32 of the FA Vase for the first time in their history following another dramatic afternoon at the Daly Stadium.
The Ghosts were pegged back in the closing minutes, having led 2-0 through goals from Ash Jarvis and Jack Robinson.
But they kept their nerve in the shootout, converting all four of their spot kicks to book a place in the fourth round draw.
With both sides top of their respective leagues at the start of play, and the visitors having already beaten Norfolk opposition in the form of Wroxham in the last round, the tie promised much.
But, in a cagey opening, the best chance fell to the visitors, with Fakenham keeper Tom Coombe making an excellent low save from a Jack Clarkson header.
The home side only seemed to fully settle into the game after taking the lead in the 25th minute.
A corner was only partially dealt with by the visiting defence, and two shots were blocked before Jarvis finally smashed home.
The forward had a second goal disallowed for offside shortly before half-time as the hosts looked to build on their advantage.
But the Buckinghamshire side were always a threat and Coombe was called into action again early in the second half, saving with his feet after George Shrieves had danced through the home defence to earn a shooting position.
The South Midlands League club should have levelled moments later when Mason Spence headed over from close range after connecting with a right-wing corner.
And they were punished just past the hour, when a poor defensive clearance fell to Callum Brain, who played in Robinson to fire into the far corner.
But a nervous finish was guaranteed 14 minutes from time when substitute Dominic Lawless curled the ball home.
A skirmish in the goalmouth ensued as the visitors sought a quick restart in the growing tension.
And, four minutes later, they were awarded a penalty when referee Bradley Mingay ruled Shrieves had been fouled in the area.
A lengthy delay ensued while Shrieves was tended to, but it didn’t put Spence off as he beat Coombe from the spot.
And the visitors nearly won it in stoppage time, only for what would have been their winning goal to be disallowed for a foul on the Fakenham goalkeeper.
Spence and Jarvis then converted their teams’ opening kicks in the shootout before substitute Alex Filip’s effort hit the crossbar for Irish.
Josh Youngs and Calum Dickinson both converted for Fakenham, while Christian Beau-Pierre put his shot over the top.
And, although Liam Smyth kept Irish’s hopes alive, Josh Hazell’s goal sparked more joyous celebrations as the Ghosts took another step along the road to Wembley.