Sat 6th Jan 2018
the Build Base FA Vase - 4th Round Proper
Sponsored by Mick Eldridge
TAFC First team 5-1 Hullbridge Sports

TAFC goals: Own Goal, Jack Read, Christopher Vardy, Mark Riddick, Max Hercules

The 619 teams that entered the FA Vase back in August have now been whittled down to the last 16 and for the first time in our history we will be among those elite group of clubs who will be listening with interest on Monday for the draw for the 5th round.

There is no doubt we have had a disappointing season so far but we have risen to the occasion in this prestigious national competition and we now find ourselves just 3 rounds away from a Wembley final. Our opponents were from the Essex Senior League and were a carbon copy of us - poor season, sitting near the foot of the table, but were having a superb run in the Vase and were hopeful of reaching the 5th round for the first time.

But were the league positions of both teams misleading? The answer is probably yes. We have shown signs of improvement lately and we deservedly beat Berko in the previous round who were top of the table and on a long unbeaten run.

Similarly Sports have had to get through 4 rounds to get to this stage beating 2 South Midland sides along the way, namely Colney Heath 1-0 after a 1-1 draw at home and Wembley 3-2 at home, both of whom have beaten us this season. Also Sports have shown some improved form in their last 6 games, winning 4, drawing one and losing one.

The two clubs have met before in the Vase on 22 October 2011. We won 3-2 with goals from Vinnie Iannone, Stewart King and a penalty from David Whicker. Looking at the line ups for that day only Tom Ranger appeared on both sheets for Sports and Sam Joliffe would surely have been likewise for us had he not been suspended for this game. Interestingly Chris Salmon and Tony Fields played back in 2011 and it was great to see them in the crowd.

The weather leading up to the game had not been helpful and although the pitch was perfectly playable the surface was very heavy and that probably contributed to the scrappy first half. Thankfully (for us at least) the crowd of 217 (the 8th biggest in the competition that day) were treated to a much better spectacle in the second period.

We took the lead after only 12 minutes in rather fortuitous circumstances. A nice move involving Elliott Goward, Max Hercules and Chris Vardy should have been easily dealt with by Shawn Coe, but the right back panicked and his attempted clearance struck his colleague Gus Douglas and rebounded back past keeper Russell Harley. It was a lucky break which gave us an early advantage. Score 1-0.

Sports won a number of free kicks some in good positions but they failed to take advantage of these opportunities. Chris Vardy was sent away down the right with a lovely pass from Colm Parrott but he failed to pick out an unmarked Elliott Goward on the far side with his cross.

The visitors went desperately close to snatching an equaliser in the 27th minute. when 18 year old Colm Parrott failed to clear the ball cleanly and the ball fell kindly to Michael Salako, the oppositions most dangerous player, but his fine curling shot hit the crossbar. It was a lucky escape from a rare mistake from young Colm who has been very impressive for us and looks a terrific prospect.

We had to make a change when Elliott Goward went off to be replaced by Jack Read on the half hour mark. Elliott has been suffering with hamstring problems and looks likely to miss a few games which will be a big loss as since he joined us earlier in the season he has become a key player.

The game had been fairly even and there was little to choose between the two sides but crucially we had our noses in front as the teams went in for half time. HT Score 1-0.

After the poor fare in the first 45 minutes we got off to a dream start by doubling our lead within 3 minutes of the restart thanks to some terrific play by Mark Riddick, who was outstanding. Mark won the ball off Joe Pattison down by the left hand corner and crossed for Jack Read to score from close range. Score 2-0.

Six minutes later Jack Read stabbed an effort wide after Max Hercules helped on a Chris Mason cross. But it was Sports who nearly pulled a goal back when a poor header back to Jack Hopwood fell short and their debutant winger Perry Hirst drew a superb save from Jack Hopwood.

Our opponents started to push forward in search of a goal, leaving gaps at the back and we had a great opportunity when Jack Read and Max Hercules found themselves 2 on 1 with a defender but Jack delayed the pass and Max had strayed into an offside position.

A minute before the hour we trebled our lead when Chris Mason capped a fine game with an assist, producing a precise cross to pick out Chris Vardy in the area. Vards still had a lot to do but a couple of lovely touches saw him ease the ball past the defender and keeper. It was vintage Vardy and the home crowd showed their appreciation for a player scoring his 88th goal on his 200th appearance. Score 3-0.

Sports didn't give up and following a corner there was a bit of head tennis in our area before Colm Parrott produced a brave clearing header. There was a clash of heads between Colm and Rob Hodgson but after a short delay for treatment both players were fortunately okay and able to continue.

The visitors were now throwing caution to the wind and pushing forward in numbers to try and get back in the game and they were rewarded with a penalty in the 65th minute when the Referee judged that their centre back Gus Hodgson was fouled when challenging for a free kick. Sports Captain and leading scorer Jimmy Cox converted to give his side a glimmer of hope. Score 3-1.

Within six minutes any hopes the visitors had of a dramatic comeback were doused when Mark Riddick headed home a Max Hercules corner to restore our 3 goal advantage. Score 4-1.

Sports sub Luac Frankis headed a free kick over the bar and later forced a brilliant save from Jack Hopwood with Colm Parrott producing a timely intervention to prevent Jimmy Cox from slotting home the loose ball.

But it was left to Max Hercules to add a big dollop of icing to our cake in the first minute of added time firing home a fifth goal, after Tommy Twelves fine cross picked out George Carbery who produced a superb touch for our rising young star to cap a memorable afternoon that will go down in the Club's annals as a day to remember. FT Score 5-1.

Afterwards a delighted Ian Richardson said "Wow what a great result for the Club. The boys were immense today. When a big performance was needed they produced 5 goals, some great football especially in the second half. Last 16 of the FA Vase for the first time and can't wait for the draw on Monday".

The players will have to come down off cloud 9 quite quickly as they have 2 important league games coming up at the Grass Roots Stadium with Cockfosters the visitors on Tuesday and Hadley on Saturday. Dreams of further cup glory will have to be put on hold for the moment for the more prosaic need of crucial league points.


TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Colm Parrott 3 Chris Mason 4 Mark Riddick 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Dave O'Connor (16 Steve Nott-Macaire 74) 7 Max Hercules 8 Tommy Twelves 9 Chris Vardy (15 George Carbery 81) 10 Luke Dunstan 11 Elliott Goward (12 Jack Read 30). Subs not used: 14 Jack Sunderland 17 Josh Hart.

HS:1 Russell Harley 2 Shawn Coe 3 Sam Taylor 4 Joe Pattison 5 Rob Hodgson 6 Gus Douglas 7 Michael Edgar (15 Matt Tapley 53) 8 Harry Watkins 9 Michael Salako 10 Jimmy Cox (Capt) 11 Perry Hirst (17 Luca Frankis 71). Subs not used: 12 Angus Poole 14 Tom Ranger 16 Damien Siemienczuk.


TA:OG (12), Jack Read (48), Chris Vardy (59), Mark Riddick (71)Max Hercules (90+1)

HS:Jimmy Cox Pen (65)


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