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Flackwell left gutted after FA Vase exit to United Services Portsmouth

Blake O'Neill

Flackwell left  gutted after FA Vase exit to United Services Portsmouth

Photo credit: Andrew Batt

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United Services Portsmouth 2-0 Flackwell Heath

The Heathens travelled down to the South Coast in search of a place in the Semi Finals of the FA Vase. Both sides have enjoyed successful campaigns resulting in each of them progressing further in the competition than ever before. With United Services Portsmouth playing a division below the Heathens, Flackwell were certainly the favourites going into the Match at the Victory Stadium.

With both sides lining up in their traditional colours, Flackwell got us underway shortly after 3pm. Flackwell started much the better side, keeping United Services pinned inside their own half for the majority of the opening 5 minutes but failed to create a clear opportunity.

James Mansfield had the only shot of the first 5 but his right footed effort from the edge of the area flew wayward over the crossbar. On 10 minutes US Portsmouth got the ball up the pitch but, just like Flackwell had for the first few minutes, were unable to fire a shot on goal.

After enduring the Flackwell onslaught for 15 minutes US Portsmouth finally had a shot at Aaron Watkins goal however this was well caught by the Heathens goalkeeper. After a momentary pause in play for a head injury to United Services captain Tom Jeffes, Flackwell looked to move the ball quickly forwards in search of the elusive opening goal but still couldn’t find it.

After a ball over the top James Franklin saw his cross cut out before Flackwell looked to hit US Pompey on the counter attack however, just like they have been all game the US defence was solid and dealt with the danger. After a slow five or ten minutes a diagnonal ball from US Pompey created a chance down the right flank but again this chance went begging.

Shortly later, up the other end Khalid Simmo cut in from the left flank firing a shot at goal but this was well saved once more by Tom Price in goal. On thirty minutes the elusive first goal was scored, the ball falling to James Franklin for US Pompey who sent a perfectly weighted lob over the head of Aaron Watkins and into the back of the Flackwell net. Flackwell looked to bounce straight back after the opening goal bombing forwards but James Essex’s right footed shot on the turn was well saved again by Price in Goal.

The next 10 minutes saw both sides having a theoretical game of table tennis as they both attacked each other however no chances were created. After this dry spell, Flackwell right back Joshua Edwards did well down the right flank eventually forcing a shot on goal which was once again well saved by price imbetween the sticks.

With both sides having a few free kicks come to nothing the home side sent a corner into the box, Andy Todd met this though he could only see his powerful header smash back off the bar. With 3 minutes added on that was the last action of the half with United Services taking a 1 goal lead into the break. 

HALF TIME: United Services Portsmouth 1-0 Flackwell Heath

With no changes for either side at half time United services got the game back underway. The home side started much better than the Heathens with Jack Chandler working well down the right wing to fire the ball across goal but no one was on the other end of it.

With the visitors needing a goal Simmo whipped in a corner but the header from Howell could only be directed over the top of the bar. It took ten minutes of football before the first clear chance which fell to Simmo who’s chip over the goalkeeper lacked power easily being swept away from any danger.

Again, Simmo received the ball on the left side of the box firing a cross-shot goal wards but the ball flew inches away from both the back post and the arriving players. The Heathens enjoyed most of the ball in the first minutes of the half with United Services seemingly happy to allow the away side to control the play.

The game turned from a one sided affair to more of an end to end game in the next moments with Flackwell bombing forward and United Services looking to catch them on the counter after dealing with the threat. With sixty five minutes on the clock United Services finally ventured forward but, just like in the first half, these chances came to nothing. The game livened up shortly after this with United Services missing a good chance to go 2-0 up as Chandler flew down the right wing only being able to send a cross along the floor and safely into Watkins arms.

The tempo of the game stayed high with a succession of Flackwell corners being headed away but their hunt for the much needed equalising goal continued. Some great work from goalscorer James Franklin saw him on the outside of the area through on goal but his left footed effort sailed way over the Flackwell goal.

With 18 minutes to go a long free kick was sent in towards the box by Josh Bains but it failed to beat the first man. Flackwell were left wondering how they hadn’t equalised after a succession of chances fell their way but none of them were capitalised upon.

After good work down the left flank Flackwell won yet another corner but yet again this couldn’t be capitalised on. The Heathens were easily the better side in the game with just 12 minutes left to find an equaliser. However with less than 5 minutes to go and against the run of play Harry Seargent directed a header towards the Heathens goal and past Watkins into the back of the net making the scoreline 2-0 and giving Flackwell a Mammoth task to overcome.

After the goal Flackwell flew straight forward in search of the equaliser but failed to make anything of it. The next chance came two minutes later as a cross by Mitchell Parker bounced down off the bar and was also cleared away. With the seconds ticking away Flackwell failed to create anything meaning US Portsmouth saw the final few moments out claiming their place in the Semi Finals

FULL TIME: United Services Portsmouth 2-0 Flackwell Heath

After the game Marcus Richardson said it was “Most Probably one of the most gutting feelings of my life to be fair”. He also went on to say that “We felt like we were a little bit under par in front of goal, dominated the game just couldn’t find our feet in front of goal today and it’s really gutting for that because the boys if you know how well we’ve built this side and stuff like that.”

When asked What his thoughts going forward were Marcus said “You’ve just got to rebuild and believe in yourself that you can do it.”

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