Hallam FC 3 – 2 Ashton Athletic
The FA vase returns to the World’s Oldest Football Ground as Hallam FC host Ashton Athletic FC from the North West Counties Premier. This season the FA Vase is sponsored by Izuzu which interestingly translates as the noun for the verb disambiguate. (You will need to Google what that actually means)
A quick note for anyone who purchased a match day program. There was a minor error made naming Ashton Athletic, Ashton United. Given the rarity of mistakes in our match day programs, we suspect these could fetch a healthy sum in a few years so its worth keeping these in your safety deposit box for a rainy day.
Talking of the weather, it was a beautiful day at Sandygate, the match day volunteers arrived early to set up the playing surface. There was even time to reduce the effect of a white boundary line which had been added through the middle of the pitch by our friends at the cricket club next door.
Being a Bank Holiday Sunday there was no anticipation of crowd size and by 2:30pm it was looking like only a 150 or so supporters had made the trip, by 2:50pm this swelled to just shy of 400, fairly sure they were not all crammed in the Hallam club house……
Ashton started the game the brighter side, a continual exploitation of Hallam’s right wing allowed them to gain what looked like an upper hand. Their early advances were cut down by the central defence dealing with crosses efficiently but Ashton were looking well disciplined
Hallam did start to come into the game and were creating chances. Scott Ruthven was linking up well with Danny Deakin and in one move he volleyed the ball from a Deakin cross which flew just above the Ashton bar and into the, new for this season, Shed-End open air extension.
Into the midpoint of the first half and it was Ashton that claimed first blood. Another break down the Hallam right side which was crossed into two oncoming forwards and the ball was struck by one of them low to Sam Andrews right and into the net. 0-1
From this point towards Half-Time it was Ashton Athletic who were looking more likely to get the next goal. Certainly, some squeaky bum moment as they produced a wave of chances which were either dealt with by the Hallam defence or as a result of inaccurate shooting by the Ashton attack.
Going into the Half Time at one down appeared to be a positive result and the Countrymen were hoping for the team to come out with a bit more snell. A half time change sees Brandon Bradbury come on in place of Liam Royles who only the day before became a father for the first time (congratulations!!!!).
Brandon Bradbury had an almost immediate impact of the game with his teasing runs into the Ashton Box. Just a few minutes into the half and the ball found its way into Ashton goal following a high cross into the Ashton six-yard area. The ball was challenged by both Ruthven and the Keeper with Ruthven winning the ball and heading into the goal. Following a few “discussions” between the teams and the ref, the goal was eventually disallowed due to an infringement with the keeper.
As the game continued it was looking very likely that Hallam would find an equaliser due to their pressing play and now playing downhill. The break came from the wizard Steve Wolley, a couple of shuffles onto his favoured right foot and the ball found itself into the right side of the goal giving the Hallam supporters behind a reasonable amount of pleasure. 1-1.
Wooley was close to making it two with a free kick from the edge of the area lifting over the wall and just curling to the left of the Ashton post.
It was feeling inevitable that Hallam would take the lead and the inevitability became a reality as Bradbury picked up the ball from outside the box turned the defender and slotted the ball into the bottom corner. 2-1
Ashton Athletic were far from finished and now started to retaliate with growing strength. Sam Andrews in the Hallam goal was called on to prevent the game reaching a Desmond two-two and he performed the sort of acrobatic performance usually only seen in a circus to keep Hallam ahead.
A few minutes later and the Ashton pressure has reduced as Hallam scored a third. Great work by Iren Wilson tip toeing through the Ashton defence, the ball ricochets around a few players and land at the feet of Bradbury, as soon as he had it everyone know where it was going to end up, top bins it went and Hallam’s third goal. 3-1
Credit now goes to Ashton Athletic who kept pushing forward, as we entered injury time, they were awarded a freekick on the edge of the Hallam box. The subsequent freekick was expertly bent around the Hallam wall and past a diving Andrews to bring the score back to 3-2.
The final few minutes was consumed by emotions boiling over, the odd hand-bag came out but nothing that constituted more than a couple of yellow cards.
The match ended with the victory to Hallam who go on to the next round to play South Liverpool away on the 24th Sept.
Thank you to Ashton Athletic, great set of players, brilliant staff and committee. We wish you all the best for the rest of the season.
Hallam FC Media