GALLERY: Walsham-le-Willows’ FA Vase dreams are shattered by Haringey Borough

Walsham le Willows v Haringey Borough.
N. Clarke heads the ball and scores for Walsham.

FA VASE Walsham le Willows v Haringey Borough. N. Clarke heads the ball and scores for Walsham. - Credit: Archant

The 4-1 scoreline may have flattered Haringey Borough, but there is little doubt the Essex Senior League side were worthy winners of this FA Vase Second Round clash at Summer Road on Saturday.

Never before have Walsham-le-Willows gone past this round of the competition but the opening minutes of this contest suggested that could change.

However, a deflected opener for Haringey after 16 minutes put the visitors on their way and as confidence grew within their ranks they duly knocked the stuffing out of Paul Smith’s side, with further strikes after 43, 67 and 89 minutes.

Nathan Clarke replied with one for Walsham after 72 minutes to make the score 3-1 at the time. However, that goal always looked too little, too late.

Walsham will be kicking themselves. They could have come up against a lot stronger opposition than Haringey at this stage of the Vase. The visitors were determined and quick on the break, the impressive Anthony McDonald ripping the Suffolk side apart, especially when they went with three at the back in the second half.

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However, you felt if Walsham had got the first goal they would have gone on to win – not that we will ever know.

With new training pitches in Summer Road and youth teams coming through their system, Walsham may not be the richest club in terms of finance, but in terms of community, they are thriving.

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Summer Road hasn’t lost any of its quaint charm either, but there is more to offer footballers now, with former Sudbury Town star Smith and John Taylor, a former Cambridge United striker, fronting the coaching and managing positions.

That’s why this result and the £1,200 prize money lost was a disappointment.

Chairman Mike Powles and his hard-working committee make sure the club is in good hands and while they have made strides up the non-league pyramid, standing still is an option Smith and Taylor are unlikely to accept.

Which takes us back to Saturday and the defeat to Haringey.

From the off Walsham looked decent, although Dean Fenton did go down in the Walsham box on the quarter hour, but referee Neil West saw nothing wrong, even though most heard a noise of clipped boots.

A minute later however, Haringey were celebrating.

Matt Morton’s missed header allowed McDonald in, and the tricky left-winger curled a shot towards the far corner of Duncan McNally’s net.

A wicked deflection saw it loop in.

It was tough on Walsham but they could have been two down just two minutes later, Ashley Fashanu’s thunderous drive crashing into Trevor Newman six yards out.

Walsham settled back into their play and it was a feisty cup clash with no quarter asked or given, tackles flying in all over the pitch.

Ashley Harris saved superbly from a Nathan Clarke header, while good work by Chris McLaughlin, and Jack Brame saw Ryan Foster just shoot over.

Walsham were missing their half-chances and Haringey made them pay. Two minutes before the break McDonald whipped in a cross and Fenton thundered a fine header past McNally at the near post.

Walsham went to three at the back in the second half and although they enjoyed plenty of possession, with substitute Andrew Wood making an impact, they were nowhere near as potent as McDonald and his Haringey team-mates.

After 67 minutes a low free-kick from Christopher Benjamin was tapped home at the far post by Fashanu for Borough’s third and although Clarke netted with a free header five minutes later, it always looked too late. Fashanu picked up a second yellow card near the end for not retreating and saw red, while McDonald broke away once more in the final minute – his cross finished off by Fenton – and it was Haringey Borough who progressed into round three of this year’s competition.

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