Hat-trick man ends K&P FA Vase hopes

PUBLISHED: 16:38 17 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:55 10 September 2010

Former Wroxham manager Damien Hilton netted a great hat-trick to send Kirkley & Pakefield spinning out of this year's FA Vase in a see-saw, all-Suffolk clash between two of the heavyweights of the Ridgeons League.

Former Wroxham manager Damien Hilton netted a great hat-trick to send Kirkley & Pakefield spinning out of this year's FA Vase in a see-saw, all-Suffolk clash between two of the heavyweights of the Ridgeons League.

Kirkley held the lead twice and also pegged it back to 3-3 at one stage until two goals in the final quarter sealed the tie.

Needham Market can go all the way to the FA Vase final, according to Kirkley & Pakefield's joint manager Jon Reynolds.

After seeing his side lose 5-3 at Bloomfields on Saturday, Reynolds said: “We are disappointed as we knew it was going to be a close game.

“We had a good spell when we were 2-1 up and could have made it 3-1, but it wasn't to be.

“I said before the game that whoever won could go all the way to the final. Needham are a good footballing side who are capable of scoring goals and I think they could go all the way, especially if they avoid Whitley Bay in the draw.

“Nathan Stone had a fantastic game for us and yet finished on the losing side.”

Needham manager Danny Laws enthused: “I am very proud of my players' endeavour.

“But both teams' spirit and endeavour was phenomenal.

Hat-trick hero Hilton, who was nursing a dead leg after colliding with a post, said: “If anything, I was disappointed not to score a couple more. Hilton is a former team mate of opposing keeper Robert Woodcock when he was player-manager at Wroxham.

Two-goal Kirkley striker Stone said: “I am devastated. I was close to tears at the end. The chance of going to Wembley is not going to come along very often.

“That is the furthest we have gone in the competition and it may be a few years before we get this far again.

“If we had played against any other side I think we would have won, but Needham deserved to win over the 90 minutes.

David Bugg, the Needham chairman who has witnessed some memorable afternoons in the FA Vase in recent seasons, said: “That match is right up there with the best of them.”

It took Kirkley only four minutes to take the lead when a defence-splitting pass by Russell Stock found Stone, who beat former King's Lynn keeper Danny Gay all ends up.

Hilton scored his first goal on 34 minutes after Kirkley had had the majority of the play.

Stone went up the other end on 40 minutes and hammered the bar, with the ball coming out to Scott Manning who cooly placed the ball into the far corner of the net.

Kirkley were then shocked with two goals in the final five minutes of the half, Hilton with his second side-footing passed Woodcock, then after Grint had fouled Bethell, left back Kevin Horlock curled a wicked free-kick over Woodcock for a 3-2 Needham lead.

Kirkley took the game to Needham and Cole saw his header bounce off the bar twice with Stock waiting to pounce.

After more attacking Stone was put through by Dawson and flashed the equaliser over Gay.

The tie was wrapped up with a further goal from a difficult angle by man of the match Hilton and as Kirkley pushed forward, Darren Bethell had a free header for No 5 to end a thrilling tie that could have gone either way.

News filtered through in the clubhouse afterwards that these two teams have been drawn together in the semi-finals of the Suffolk Premier Cup.

Kirkley & Pakefield: Woodcock; Grint, Coe, Jefford, Blois; Martin, Dawson (sub Key, 85 mins), DeCoteau, Manning (sub McKenna 59 mins), Stone, Stock. Unused subs: Harvey-Cooper, Thacker. Att: 329.

Wroxham's game at Armthorpe Welfare was called off on Thursday evening and they must now visit Yorkshire on Saturday.

The draw for the fifth round will be made at the FA today, with ties to be played on February 6.

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