Much improved weekend of football for Fawley AFC first team as we got that elusive first competitive victory which has taken its time! Thanks to Cavanagh photography for the selection of match day images.
Fawley travelled to Laverstock & Ford on a miserable run of form, having lost in two previous cup games and with league form as equally depressing! The previous weekend we travelled to Laverstock in a Sydenhams Wessex League fixture and travelled home empty handed with nothing but a plate full of chilli inside our stomachs, a terrible weekend! However this weekends Buildbase FA Vase fixture was an opportunity to show a bit of character and kick start this campaign.
Changes in the team included Lee Burch between the sticks having managed to find a last minute babysitter (thanks Martin!), Martin Buckthorpe came in at centre half having recently resigned for the club, and a more familiar 4-4-2 formation with Dane Sayce moving back into the centre of midfield. Multi-tasking seemed to be missing from Kieran Roche repertoire as he remembered to go to work in the morning but had forgot his football kit (numpty!) so Callum Tanner and Mark Lilley were paired up top.
Fawley started brightly and forced some early pressure however it was a similar story as the Oilers fell behind to an early Laverstock goal from a corner. The home sides set piece deliveries were impressive and caused Fawley pressure all afternoon, and a corner whipped in from the right was met perfectly by Laverstock's number 7.
The Fawley response was good and the equaliser came not long before half time. Matt Hawkins played a ball between centre half and right back which had the Laverstock defence back peddling, and enticed the goalkeeper off his line who could only bring down Mark Lilley for the ref to issue the spot kick. Lilley was on penalty duties for the day however he handed the ball over to Callum Tanner whilst he dusted himself down from the tackle, who slotted the penalty to make it 1-1 before half time.
Second half Laverstock again showed their strengths from the dead ball and powered a header onto the crossbar as they looked for the second goal. The game could've gone either way at this point so the Fawley management - which included the returning Lee Shepherd - made a string of substitutions with Ollie Bradley, Mitch Hunt and Kieran Roche all coming on in relatively short succession. With the clock ticking down and all the players dreading another 30 minutes on weary legs, it was one of the substitutes that made the difference with Mitch Hunt firstly making a great sliding tackle and carrying the ball deep into the Laverstock half before squaring to Callum Tanner who rounded the keeper to put the ball into an empty net. There was barely time for the restart, so Fawley were through to the second preliminary round.
The next FA Vase game is on Saturday 23rd September as we travel to Swanage Town of the Dorset Premier League.