On a lovely warm and sunny afternoon, Warminster Town welcomed Alresford Town to Weymouth Street for the second qualifying round of the FA Vase. This is a competition that can lead to a final at Wembley. Warminster had a bye in the first round and now faced a team from the Wessex Premier Division who had won all their five games of the season so far.
In front of a crowd of 110, this proved to be a high energy and entertaining game of football. Were it not for many other local events such as the Frome Cheese Show and Longleat Sky Safari would have been much higher. With fortune favouring the brave Warminster took a one-goal lead into the dressing room at halftime
Early chances came for the visitors when Nathan Ball, in goal for Warminster was called into action in the 4th minute. Ball made a block to put the ball out for a corner. On other occasions, Alresford were heading or shooting high over the Warminster cross-bar. The Red & Blacks worked hard and were creating chances of their own with the best after 20 minutes with good work by Francois Allen. He broke away down the right and crossed the ball to find George Butler who forced the keeper into making a good save on the line down at the corner of his right-hand post. A shot from the subsequent rebound was blocked and cleared to safety.
In the 24th minute, Charlie Walton fired over the bar, however, just two minutes later he scored a spectacular goal. A free-kick from the right was floated into the box by Ashton Shanley, it was cleared by the defence and fell to Walton on the left of goal who volleyed the ball home into the far right of the visitors’ goal. This will probably be one of the outstanding goals of the season.
Alresford continued to create chances but failed to capitalise on them. The home side could have doubled their lead when Jack Miluk with under 5 minutes to go forced the keeper to make a save after another Shanley free-kick was dropped into the Alresford penalty area.
In less than 60 seconds of the second half kicking off The Magpies nearly drew level when a route one kick down the right from the keeper was picked up close to Warminster’s goal and fired agonisingly across the front and out of play at the far post. It was an early warning that there was still a lot of fight left from the Wessex Premier League leaders. A few moments later the visitors went close again when a shot went just over Ball’s crossbar.
The second goal for Warminster came on 50 minutes when Allen made a good run down the right, crossed the ball into The Magpies box and Charlie Walton turned to shoot. The keeper, McCarthy got his hands to it but the ball still found its way into the left-hand corner. 4 minutes later Alresford pulled one back with a goal from Chris Mason who took his shot well from the edge of the area following a move down their left-side of the pitch.
This left 36 minutes of normal time for some dramatic action with Alresford having some good chances and they made all 3 substitutions early on to try and get that all elusive goal.
The match was marred just before 90 minutes when a spat between a group of players ended with a yellow card for a player on each side, It could have been for one of the Alresford players who threw a punch in front of those sat in the seats in front of the clubhouse but was not seen by the officials.
Very late on and deep into additional time, a goal-mouth scramble at the Warminster end was thankfully cleared which allowed Warminster to come out as the victors in a hard-fought match.
Warminster next play on Saturday, September 21st with another home game when Hengrove Athletic who were relegated from the Western League Premier Division last season will be the opponents.
Team: Ball, Baggs, Barnes, Graham, McFerran, Churchyard, Miluk, Walton, Allen*, Butler*, Shanley*
(subs used*) Lisowski*, Vincent*, Johnson*, De Silva