Steyning Town 4 – 2 AFC Whyteleafe
Steyning Town’s distant dreams of Wembley remained alive on Saturday after a well deserved victory over AFC Whyteleafe in the FA Vase.
Our opponents, from one level lower, were enjoying a great unbeaten start to the season, and were expected to form stiff opposition, and this proved to be the case.
In the early stages Steyning immediately got to grips well with the game and were soon in to their now familiar, passing rhythm. Although on top for the first 15 minutes, they created a little in the way of chances , in fact at the other end, our visitors looked very dangerous going forward and Lucas was pulled into action with a fine save tipping round the post. Whyteleafe had a decent away following who were now in good voice.
The narrow escape seemed to spring the Barrowmen in to action and the buildup play suddenly had more of a cutting edge. The in form Charlie Meehan was starting to cause the central defenders problems And it was from one of his breaks that we earnt a corner. From the resultant corner, the keeper made a bit of a hash of the cross and Shooman was there to pounce and slam home from close range for his 6th goal of the season.
Suddenly Towns tails were up and they were on the hunt for the second, and it wasn’t long coming, great work from Meehan down the right, linking with Hallett, ended with a low cross that Shooman moved onto Radley-Martin and he made no mistake from close range.
Whyteleafe still looked dangerous going forward and created a few decent chances of their own. However, the great forward play wasn’t really backed up by reassuring defensive play. And shortly before half-time town made the most of the more defensive hesitation and the excellent Francis was there to glide home with his left foot from just inside the penalty area. Half-time 3-0 and in full control with centre backs Cooper and Da Costa dealing well with the offensive threat of the visitors.
Steyning came out for the second half looking to carry on where they finished the first. And this was the case so much of a half as Steyning made most of the running, driven on by Edwards and Barnes in the engine room, looking for a fourth goal that was going to kill the game off all together.
The management made made a number of changes during the half, rotating players out during this busy schedule. Goldson, Clark and Towning all entering the fray replacing Radley-Martin, Edwards and Cooper.
Town’s patience was eventually rewarded but they had to wait until the seventieth minute for the fourth goal as Meehan broke down the right cutting in on the keeper, playing a ‘clever’ one two off the keeper, and finishing neatly for his 10th goal of the season.
The game at this point seemed gone for visitors, however full credit for them as they pulled one back in the 78th minute, and then soon after added another from a penalty after Lucas spilled a shot and bought down their forward in the follow up. The penalty was slotted home well and suddenly there was potential for a comeback.
However Steyning dealt with the situation very well and didn’t really give the visitors another sniff. In fact they were looking like they wanted to add more at the other end with Goldson going close and Francis hitting the post with a low drive after another fabulous junking run. Man of the match Billy Fuller was getting forward well and swung in a number of crosses no one could get on the end of.
All in all very pleasing 90 minutes for Steyning and great to go into the hub for the first round proper where we have been drawn at home again against Reading City of the Combined Counties league on the 21st of October.
Steyning: Lucas Fuller Hallett Cooper Da Costa Edwards Barnes Radley-Martin Francis Shooman Meehan
Subs used: Goldson Towning Clark Not used: Pickering Langford Charlwood Remfry