Kirkley & Pakefield left to rue referee decision in FA Vase defeat

Connor Deeks and St Ives player Dylan Wilson in action Picture: Shirley D Whitlow

Connor Deeks and St Ives player Dylan Wilson in action Picture: Shirley D Whitlow - Credit: Archant

Kirkley & Pakefield's epic run to the last 32 of the Buildbase FA Vase fourth round came to an end last Saturday deep in the West Midlands at Sporting Khalsa with an extra time 2-0 defeat.

In a match played in strong winds and rain throughout we saw a close superb cup-tie decided by a controversial refereeing decision that decided the final outcome.

The match was played in a quality newly-constructed ground on a 3G surface Arena saw the big home team centre forward flick the ball past the post after just two minutes, then on seven minutes a Haylock ball to Goldspink saw his shot from 18 yards well saved.

On 13 minutes Whittaker for Sporting shot from 20 yards with away keeper Smith saving well also making a full stretch save for the follow up. Their centre forward McKenzie put another good chance wide. At the other end a long throw from Haylock saw a headed attempt from Herbert, then Haylock fired in a good chance.

Jordan Smith was making some quality saves to keep the Royals level, then Haylock had a great chance cleared off the line at the last second by the full back. Smith was back performing heroics on the half hour mark with several good saves. On 43 minutes a Herbert header from a corner almost put the away team ahead only to be denied by the full back on the line.

The second half started with Smith making two good saves then at the other end Goldspink hit the post before Russell shot the rebound just wide. Smith then saved from Williams before Goldspink planted a 25 yard free-kick into to keeper's arms.

On the hour Danny Conroy replaced the hard working Bodie Carter for the Royals. A good ball from Soares found Russell who made ground before being well tackled on the edge of the area, then with five minutes remaining a good ball from Russell to Haylock saw the latter strike the bar. After 90 minutes the score in a wonderful game of attacking football by both teams remain goalless.

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After five minutes of extra-time Robbie Horton replaced the injured Jordan Haverson. On 97 minutes the home team broke the deadlock with a well-taken goal from their man-of-the-match Scan Williams with a shot from inside the area to go 1-0 up.

Armstrong should have increased the lead minutes later when a free kick to him saw him miss a sitter, then sub Beckley shot wide from close in, with the home team having the better of this half.

The second period of extra time saw the Royals pushing forward more with Russell shooting wide. Then on 110 minutes with the Royals attacking strongly in the Sporting area, a clear handball by the defender and a certain penalty, was waved away by the referee and the ball was booted up field. With only sub Beckley against Smith, he fired the ball into the net for a second goal.

Despite strong protests the referee was in no mind to alter or consult his assistant.

A match that had been played in first class spirits by both sets of players who had given their all in 120 minutes of football played in driving rain and a great advert for level five football from two good teams.

A good performance from all the Royals' players with keeper Jordan Smith once again outstanding, just the goals missing once again, but a good adventure in a Vase run that saw four of their five matches away from home.

Kirkley & Pakefield: J Smith, B George, G Soares, I Dawson, J Herbert, L Flower, K Haylock, B Carter, K Goldspink, J Haverson, C Russell. Subs (unused): A Meeken, Horton, D Conroy, D McAvoy, K Baker, R Howes, I Barber.

This coming Saturday it's back to the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division for Kirkley & Pakefield with another away match at Whitton United (kick-off 3pm). The Reserves have a home league match at Walmer Road against Fakenham Town Reserves (kick-off 2pm). The Under 23's are away at Caxton Meadow against Beccles Caxton Reserves (kick-off 1.30pm). The B team after their 9-1 away win against Corton Youth last weekend have a home match on the Team Lauren Lou 3G Arena against Hawthorn United (kick-off 1.30pm).

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