Sat 23rd Oct 2021
FA Vase 1st Round Proper
Ardley United 1-1 (3-4 Pens) TAFC First team

TAFC goals: Chris Blunden (pen)



Boy did we leave it late to book our place in the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Vase for the ninth time. With 2 minutes left on the clock and with us trailing by a single goal Ardley looked destined to have their name go into the hat for Mondays draw. Then a moment of late drama saw us awarded a penalty, which Chris Blunden converted to level the score. We then went mighty close to winning it in added time but we went on to clinch our place in the next round by winning the penalty shootout 4-3.

This was our first ever competitive game against Ardley United who joined the South Midlands from the Hellenic League this season. It was also our 50th appearance in the FA Vase and we knew we faced a very tough challenge because our hosts have hit form lately convincingly winning their last 2 games, knocking in 7 goals and only conceding 1.

In contrast our last 2 games have produced 2 disappointing results and we are missing some key players but we are a difficult side to beat and we are better than our results suggest.

This game was certainly not for the faint hearted. It was tetchy and highly competitive with no quarter given and inevitably there were quite a few yellow cards produced. Its fair to say that Ardley enjoyed more possession but we defended well and we gave David Saunders plenty of protection in goal. He was forced into action after only 3 minutes pushing away a shot from James Casbierd and later he tipped over the bar an effort from Liam Talboys but we were solid and organized.

Despite the possession stats we created the best 2 chances, firstly late in the first half when Ollie Butler got round the back of Ardleys defence and picked out Chris Blunden who normally snaps these chances up but this time a defender managed to get a block in. Then just after the break a free kick found new signing Temi Bankole at the back post but his effort was scrambled away.

In the 54th minute we had a repeat of the shinpad incident that occurred the previous Saturday against Flackwell Heath. It was again an unusual decision and again our opponents took full advantage to score from it, with Jacob Blackstock tucking the ball home. Score 1-0.

The odds were now stacked against us but in the 88th minute we were given a life line albeit a painful one for Manny Gbejuade who latched onto a pass into the oppositions area and was taken out by Ardleys big keeper. It was a clear penalty and Chris Blunden sent the keeper the wrong way to level the score. Chris must like this competition because he has notched 5 goals in the last 2 rounds. Score 1-1.

The goal changed the game and in added time we should have clinched the winner when Ollie Butler showed great skills to get to the bye line and pick out Manny Gbejuade whose headed was beaten out by the keeper. Chris Blunden struck a powerful shot that was somehow kept out by a defender then John Smith followed up and smacked a shot just over the bar. Phew what an ending that would have been if we had scored.

The game ended all square at 1-1 so it was down to penalties. After 4 penalties the score was level pegging at 3 each with one kick left before sudden death. Fortunately for us the Ardley player skied his shot over the bar and it was left to new signing Luke Peerless to keep his cool and score the winner. Pens 3-4.

A hard fought win against very tough opposition. This was a team effort and the lads worked their socks off to take us into the next round when it would be nice to get a home draw for a change having played away in the 3 earlier rounds. Hopefully this win, which was our 27th in the FA Vase, will spur the players to produce the same cup form (only one defeat from 5 games) in the league.


AU:Freddie Lapworth, Jordy Ngathe, Caelan Issac, Liam Talboys (Capt), Ben Willoughby, Declan Benjamin, Mason Courtney, Callum Convey, James Casbierd, Jacob Blackstock, Leam Howards. Subs used: Lewis Gabbidon, Elliot Osborne-Ricketts Subs not used: Thomas Franklin, Ben Gascoigne, Zarius Edwards-Girauld, Anaclet Odhiambo.

TA:David Saunders, Ben Jonson, George Carbery,Temi Bankole, Adam Sawyer (Fraser Bryden 79), Tommy Twelves (Capt), Evans Lamboh (Luke Peerless 75), John Smith, Chris Blunden, Frankie Hercules (Manny Gbejuade 64), Ollie Butler. Subs not used: Jimmy Doherty, Jonny Pitts (GK)


AU:Jacob Blackstock (54)

TA:Chris Blunden Pen (90)


(No photos on file)

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