Buckland Three Steps from Wembley as FA Vase Dream Goes On
A dramatic cup tie full of quality goals, breathtaking saves and controversial decisions saw Buckland Athletic move another step closer to a date at Wembley stadium as the Yellows sent another Sussex side out of the FA Vase.
Scott Jones had the first real chance, through on goal for hosts Chichester City, but was unable to beat Grant Fisher in the Bucks goal. Josh Clack and Daniel Hegarty had further chances for the home side but it was Kieran Hartley who had the best chance for the Lilywhites as he saw his shot fly past the post. After weathering the early storm, Lloyd Gardner opened the scoring on 25 minutes with a goal to grace any cup tie, finding the right-hand corner with a long-range right-footed drive. Jared Lewington made it two ten minutes later, Bucks’ leading goalscorer finishing with his left foot after being put through by Richard Groves during a quick breakaway move.
Chichester fought valiantly to get back into the game after the break, Clack sending in a threatening cross after good work by Hegarty and Jones but Fisher snuffing out the danger. Hegarty’s looping header also ended up in the visiting ‘keeper’s arms and Liam Head tackled well to put an end to Jones’ promising run as the home side continued to ask questions. As Jones sent another shot whistling just wide of the far post it was beginning to look as if Chichester were never going to score but they did eventually narrow the deficit on 63 minutes, Hegarty winning a free-kick and Jones providing the finishing touch to Hartley’s fine cross with an equally accomplished header at the far post. Hegarty almost found an equaliser with a header but it was Buckland who scored next, on 78 minutes, Groves breaking again and on his own in front of goal. His shot was beaten away but Lewington followed up for his second. Jones thought he had brought the gap down again when he met Jack Lee’s cross at the far post but the linesman’s flag was raised and the goal wasn’t to stand. Buckland almost put the game to bed after that but home goalkeeper Dave Hook pulled off a wonderful double save to keep Chichester in the game. However, it was Buckland who held out to make the last 16 of the competition – three steps (and four games) from a potential Wembley cup final.
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