10 man Larkhall earn a replay Sept 2015

Larkhall Athletic 1-1 Havant & Waterlooville
FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round
Plain Ham
Sat 26th September 2015

Ten men Larkhall force a replay against their Conference South opponents, Havant & Waterlooville, and maintain their unbeaten run. Havant got off to the perfect start with an early goal from James Hayter, Brad Norris was then sent off in the second half for the Larks after picking up a second yellow card. However Joe Raynes soon equalised and the home defence held out for a Tuesday night replay.

The Larks hit the side netting within the first few minutes of the game when Brad Norris picked up the loose ball and tried a long range effort. It was Havant who took the early lead though through experienced striker James Hayter. His headed effort at the near post silenced Plain Ham; after good work from the former Roman Ben Swallows on the right hand side.

Havant were now on the front foot for the next twenty minutes which saw them rattle the woodwork two times. The first chance fell to Dan Strugnell from a Swallow corner, the full back timed his run to perfection but his headed effort hits the bar.

Swallow crossed for Hayter again, for the second chance, but this time his header was tipped onto the upright by the fingertips of Kyle Phillips.

Strugnell went close again after just twenty five minutes after a series of half chances defended well by the Larks back four.

Larkhall’s best outlet in the first forty five minutes was Norris who worked tirelessly up front alongside Dean Griffiths. However this partnership was soon broken up after Griffiths was forced off with injury just before half time. Dan Cleverley came on which pushed Matt Thorne up front.

The second half started well for the Larks but it was the Hawks who had the first decent chance. Scott Donnelly brought the best out of Phillips as his shot forced him into a diving save at the far post.

Jamie Lyons hit the side netting, for the Larks on fifty four minutes. Josh Egan’s freekick was headed around in the box before Lyons controlled the ball in the area, but his shot could only find the wrong side of the net.

Larkhall were now pushing forward well but they soon faced an even bigger uphill battle against higher league opponents when they went down to ten men. Norris picked up a second yellow for a foul on a Havent defender in an attacking move, which left the hosts with just Thorne running the line.

Young Larks midfielder Joe Raynes then produced a moment of magic just three minutes later. Larkhall still had the forward momentum despite having ten men and a long ball in the box was headed on by Thorne. Raynes then dribbled the ball in from the right past two defenders and the keeper to pass the ball into the net.

This galvanised the home crowd but with their man advantage Lee Bradbury urged his Havant side on to press on for the win. Swallow and Lanre Azeez on either wing became key players for the Hawks and it wasn’t long until Azeez went close.

The home defence battled well but chance after chance fell to Matt Paterson and Hayter up front for the Hawks. Azeez had pace to burn and got to the byline to deliver a great low drive into the area which left Phillips stranded. Paterson had the goal at his mercy at the back post, but his effort was headed off the line in the nick of time by Stuart Tovey.

Two minutes later Azeez rode the challenge of Ollie Price to get to the byline again but his time a combination of diving defenders and Phillips kept out another clear cut chance for Paterson. Moments later a third almost identical chance occurred for Paterson from Azeez but Phillips was on hand to keep it out. This time though his save fell to Hayter who blasted his effort over the bar from just 10 yards out.

Bradbury had seen enough from his misfiring front pair and subbed them both off. Wayne Thorne had also introduced Gio Wrona who added fresh legs to a tiring midfield. The Larks seemed to be holding on from this point with the only chance of note being a Dan Blanchett effort from a Swallow pass.

Phillips was tested once again on eighty nine minutes from Captain Brian Stock, his well struck shot was straight into Phillips’ grateful arms. Five minutes was added on with Connelly going wide but the Larks held on to earn a replay on Tuesday 29th Sept.

This marks 11 games unbeaten for the Larks on Wayne Thorne’s 200th game in charge and possibly one last game for Matt Thorne before he starts his new life in Australia next week.

MOTM – Stuart Tovey

Larkhall Athletic – Phillips, Tovey, Scott, Thorne, Price ©, Jones, Egan (78th min Wrona), Raynes, Norris, Griffiths (44th min Cleverley), Lyons (81st min Morris)

Subs not used – Cunnington, Taylor, Collier

Havant & Waterlooville – Young, Strugnell, Blanchett, Stock ©, Monteiro, Monthe, Swallow, Donnelly, Paterson (80th min Morgan), Hayter (80th min Mullings), Azeez (87th min Thomson)

Subs not used – Searle, Cummings, Clifton

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