Canterbury City – 3
Newport Pagnell Town – 2
Newport Pagnell Town’s FA Vase run was brought to an end on Sunday by Canterbury City in a game where the Milton Keynes side failed to get going until they were two goals down, pulling one back with twenty minutes to go finally kicked them into life and they piled on the pressure looking for an equaliser, they conceded again with seven minutes remaining but a brilliant solo effort moments later from substitute Jake Stronge then set up a thrilling final five minutes where The Swan’s battered the City defence but they held strong to seal the win and progress into the fifth round. Played at Faversham this cup run for the hosts could prove crucial in their fight to remain in existence, as twelve years without their own ground since they re-formed could be resolved later this year as they await planning consent, a healthy crowd turned up on Sunday afternoon to enforce their claim for needing their own home, for Town they now have a league campaign to focus on and have half of their league games left to try and push on up the United Counties League Premier Division table.
A third minute free kick to the away side just inside their own half saw the ball sent long into the City box where Dom Lawless chested towards Josh Winters but from the angle he smashed over the top, at the other end Mobolaji Dawodu connected with a cross from the right but he could only chip into the waiting arms of Pagnell keeper Mark Osborn. Harry Stratton then floated in another set piece where a mass of bodies challenging saw Damon Herbert climb highest and his looping header had home custodian Jack Delo turning over from underneath his crossbar, but from that point the home side had a good spell of possession and won a number of corners in quick succession which saw the visitors under some heavy pressure.
There was some momentary respite on twenty-eight minutes when Adam Moussi fed the ball up to Tom Liversedge inside the Canterbury box, with back to goal and a defender on his shoulder he managed to control and swivel to flash across the box and wide of the back post, within a minute their next attack broke down high up the pitch and seconds later they were behind. Driving forward after regaining possession, a foul in the centre circle was waved play on by the referee allowing the home side to proceed up to the Town box, Dean Grant saw his shot charged down but the ball rolled out to Kyron Lightfoot whose first time effort was heading wide until the merest of touches from a Newport head diverted its flight inside Osborn’s far post.
The onslaught to the Pagnell goal became more intense as the half wore on, anything the visitors slung at their hosts was repelled with some ease by the strong City back line, and just four minutes before the interval the score line was doubled from a simple routine, a free kick out on the left was curled into the box and timing his run perfectly in between the defence Dawodu headed home from six yards out. Newport’s half was summed up in the final minute when they won a corner and it failed to clear the first man who was able to launch downfield away from any danger. H/T: 2-0
Five minutes into the second half saw Lawless try his luck with his back to goal getting on the end of a cross but his overhead kick just looped up into the air allowing Delo to stand his ground and wait for it to fall into his hands, whilst a throw to the hosts found Adam Woollcott to the left but his shot way over the top. Canterbury then had a golden chance when a challenge in the middle of the pitch saw Town centre back Ollie Wilkinson flattened however play was waved on and Grant needed no second invitation to bear down on Osborn’s goal, inside the box his first shot came back off the keeper & straight back to him, he hit it again instinctively but could only steer wide.
Newport won a free kick some twenty yards out where Lawless took responsibility and curled around the wall but Delo was behind it all the way, then with twenty-five minutes left Town boss Darren Lynch introduced Stronge to the action and within six minutes they were back in the tie, a free kick awarded just outside the eighteen yard box saw Stratton step up, as the defensive wall jumped, Michael Lyon on the end of the line ducked and the ball flew over him and into the far bottom corner. This transformed Newport and they were lifted into action, Lawless from the flank squared into the box where Stratton got under it to lift over the top, and any chance they got the ball was inside the Canterbury box but again the defence repelled anything thrown at them. Then with eight minutes to go a Town attack broke down and they were hit on the counter, James Turner attacked the right channel and as he neared the penalty area a challenge from behind floored him & the referee awarded a free kick.
Woollcott stepped up and arrowed brilliantly past Osborn into the top corner for what the home support thought was enough to seal the game, however just ninety seconds later Stronge collected some twenty-five yards from goal and set on a diagonal run into the box, evading two or three challenges he tucked past Delo to set up a grandstand finish. The final five minutes saw the away side sling everything they had at their opponents, Stronge down the right fizzed a ball across the box which saw numerous bodies from both sides fling themselves trying to connect without success, from the other side of the pitch it was crossed back in where Delo then flung himself desperately trying to catch and eventually the danger cleared, as much as they tried the final whistle brought ultimate disappointment for the Swans. F/T: 3-2
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