Hanworth Villa 2-7 Eastbourne United AFC (AET)
Hanworth Villa’s FA Vase dream came to a dramatic end at Rectory Meadow as they crashed to an agonising extra-time defeat at the hands of Eastbourne United, reports Richard Warwick.
The full-time score does not tell the full story though, as Villa were looking on course to make the FA Vase fifth round, before two cruel twists of fate robbed them of that destiny.
Despite worries that the weather would cause a second postponement to the game, kick-off came in bright sunshine, only for it to quickly turn dark and gloomy for Hanworth, both on the pitch and in the sky, when they found themselves two goals down after 25 minutes, following goals from Eastbourne’s Sean Ray and Joe Dryer.
Villa were fortunate not to find themselves dead and buried at half time, but Eastbourne were left to rue their profligacy in front of goal as Hanworth launched an unexpected comeback in the second-half, dominating the game as much as Eastbourne had in the first.
An effort from Joe Johnson hit the post, and then the comeback was on when Adam Turner converted a clever through ball, mid-way through the second period.
The weather then took a turn for the worse, but as the sleet lashed down on the Rectory Meadow pitch, Ross Cheatham lashed home the equaliser, and there looked to be only one winner from that point.
Shaun Preddie almost grabbed the glory for Villa when his shot blazed over, but visibility, due to the sleet, gave the referee little option but to take the teams off the pitch with thirteen minutes to go, robbing Hanworth of their momentum.
The players returned five minutes later, despite lightning flashing overhead, and Turner nearly struck the winner for Hanworth in the last minute, but his close range effort was agonisingly tipped over the bar.
Villa’s dreams were dashed though in extra time when, almost immediately, the impressive Turner was carried off with a leg injury, and his team were left down to 10 men having used up all their substitutes.
This turn of fortune was duly exploited by Eastbourne as they struck twice, first through Ryan McBride and then Scott Dartnell, to open up a dominant lead at the half way point of extra-time.
Villa battled back in the final period, but the heavy pitch and the one man deficit had left them tired and unable to prevent a rout.
Dryer sealed his hat trick with two well taken goals before Lee Morely was red-carded after bringing down an Eastbourne attacker when through on goal, and the penalty was converted by Wes Tate to complete the visitors emphatic victory.
Hanworth Villa: Dixon, Higgs, Johnson, Morley, Jones, Loveridge, Oaks, Preddie, Turner, Frost, Farnden. Subs: Juett, Cheetham, Byron, Baines, King.