Wroxham win Vase thriller

Paddy Davitt Wroxham 1, Armthorpe Welfare 1 aet (Wroxham won 3-0 on penalties) Yachtsmen chief David Batch was the coolest man at Trafford Park after watching his side edge an epic FA Vase fourth round replay.

Paddy Davitt

Wroxham 1, Armthorpe Welfare 1

(Wroxham won 3-0 on penalties)

Yachtsmen chief David Batch was the coolest man at Trafford Park after watching his side edge an epic FA Vase fourth round replay.

Wroxham prevailed in a sudden-death penalty shoot-out after four hours of footballing attrition failed to separate two evenly matched teams.

Armthorpe struck bar and post in extra time despite being reduced to ten men during the first period when Ian Farmery was red carded for a crude lunge.

Most Read

Welfare stopper Jamie Green then produced a breathtaking close-range tip-over to deny Paul Cook before Wroxham's experienced keeper Scott Howie moved centre stage.

The former Norwich City and King's Lynn custodian saved James Walker's opening spot-kick and won his personal duels with Welfare duo Green and Liam Nelthorpe who both blazed over.

Wroxham's trio kept their nerve to set up a trip to Molten Spartan South Midlands side Royston Town this weekend for a place in the quarter-finals alongside fellow Ridgeons League survivors Needham Market who beat Daventry 2-0 on Saturday.

Batch's cup fighters can expect to find out their potential last eight opponents at FA headquarters tomorrow (Monday) but the Wroxham boss has already slapped the blinkers on Norfolk's sole survivors.

“You can't win a quarter-final unless you win your tie in the last 16 so there's no point us even thinking about that,” he said. “We have to deal with the next game and if we do then we can start to think about what it could feel like. Only a fool worries about things that they can't influence. What I do hope is the nature of this win means our lads will be buzzing for next week.

“We know a little bit about them because we played them here in pre-season and won 2-1. Whether they have the same team or not you don't know but that game has gone so does it really matter? It was pre-season after all and who knows how competitive that was.”

Batch admitted practice made perfect to settle this cliff-hanger after Welfare striker Liam Hardy cancelled out Martin McNeil's early close range header to level from the spot before the break.

“Funnily enough I actually felt quite calm when it went to penalties because we had practised them during midweek and the week before,” said Batch. “We knew what we were going to do so I spoke to the players who were taking them but as a manager there is not a lot more you can do at that point.

“Scott won a play-off final at Shrewsbury when he saved three out of five I think from memory which is why we decided if we won the toss, which we did, we'd go second. We knew Scott is always likely to save one and if we score then the pressure is right on them. Luckily for us, touch wood, that is how it worked out.”

Wroxham also enjoyed that priceless commodity during a stamina sapping extra time period. Welfare targeman Bruno Holden struck the woodwork twice - his late wayward potshot clipping the base of Howie's far post after Gavin Pauling's deflection had totally wrong footed the stranded keeper.

“It was a bit of luck but the flip side is if it had gone in then for me that would have been a bit of bad luck,” said Batch. “It would have been harsh because the ball is going nowhere near the goal when he hits it. The elation is massive in our changing room but the funny thing is I didn't think we played well. Maybe we got going for the last ten minutes of normal time and extra time.

“Possibly it was due to our lack of activity in terms of games recently but I also know they are a good team. They are strong, they have pace, they are technically good with the ball and they can run at people. It's not always about us but how good the opposition are and there wasn't too much between the sides in both ties.”

Wroxham: Howie, Pauling, Howes, Challen (Carus 59), McNeil, Simpson, Spriggs, Lemmon (Daniels 83), Cook, White, Gilmore (Paynter 59). Subs (not used): Self, Eastaugh.

Goal: McNeil (11)

Bookings: Simpson, Cook

Armthorpe: Green, Nelthorpe, Farmery, Morley (Stead 90), Sharpe, Buck, Davis, Walker, Holden, Hardy (Fletcher 112), Sibenge (Preston 74). Sub (not used) Wheat.

Goal: Hardy (41)

Bookings: Holden, Buck, Green.

Sending off: Farmery.

Referee: RA Hyde.

Attendance: 175.

Penalties - Welfare misses: Walker, Green, Nelthorpe.

Wroxham scorers: Howes, Daniels, Paynter.