FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round
CLIFTON ALL WHITES 1 HOLWELL SPORTS 2 (after extra time)
A dramatic winner deep into extra time by Kieran Foster edged Holwell through to the first round proper of the FA Vase on Saturday.
With just four minutes left of the extra 30 and a replay looming, Foster headed home Liam Chapman’s cross to the jubilation of his team-mates.
It was tough on Central Midland League outfit Clifton after they had battled back into the game following Chris Hibbitt’s 21st minute opener.
But it was a mixed afternoon for Hibbitt as he received his marching orders in the dying seconds of extra time for a second bookable offence.
Sports were this morning (Monday) drawn at home to Northern Counties East League premier division side AFC Mansfield in the next round, the tie to be played on Saturday October 22.
Holwell have been slow out of the blocks in recent games but that was not the case in this Buildbase FA Vase tie in Nottingham.
Laithan Hammond had half a chance in the fifth minute but Clifton managed to clear the danger.
The hosts fielded an experienced line-up for the game and they defended well against the front two of Hammond and Mark Tinsley.
That was until Hibbitt put the visitors in front midway through the half from inside the box as Clifton failed to clear a corner.
Hammond pressurised the centre backs and the ball fell for Hibbitt to fire past Clifton number one Dobbie.
Sports started catching All Whites on the break as they sought an equaliser.
But they wasted two great chances within a minute.
Andre Fontoura got through one-on-one with the goalkeeper but could only hit his shot straight at him.
And then Hammond delayed pulling the trigger and was blocked by a defender’s recovery tackle.
The challenge resulted in Hammond having to leave the field with a broken nose, David Hazeldine replacing him off the bench.
The All Whites came out firing in the second half, with Craig Anderson firing a shot which skimmed the Holwell bar.
Back came Sports in an end-to-end cup tie.
Clifton started to get some joy down their right-hand side through Combi Brown and with 20 minutes left they were on level terms.
The latest in a series of high balls from the right to found centre forward Steve O’Connell at the back post and he towered above David Reeves to head past Jamie Witham in the visitors’ goal.
Holwell’s heads seemed to go down at this point and Clifon got on top.
Shots by O’Connell and Brown were cleared off the line in quick succession and the hosts also had a big shout for as penalty when Aaron Ridout tackled Miller in the box after he had replaced the injured Brown.
But Sports regained control with their superior fitness as several Clifton players dropped to the ground suffering from cramp.
The home side suffered a huge blow when they lost their centre back and captain to injury as the final minutes of the 90 ticked by.
Holwell missed a succession of chances to win it in regulation time, through Foster and Tinsley.
Sports were denied an almost certain-looking penalty with five minutes left.
Foster went round the goalkeeper, who appeard to put both hands on him at chest height to physically push him off the ball.
But the official waved away vehement penalty appeals.
Clifton seemed desperate for a replay with players continuing to cramp up in extra time.
Holwell pressed for the winner, though, with Hazeldine skying a shot when well placed.
Hardy missed a rare opening for Clifton and then in the second half of extra time full back Sam Craven shanked a good chance wide.
But it was Holwell who eventually prevailed with that 116th minute winning goal from Foster, preceded by Hibbitt’s unfortunate red card.