SHORTWOOD equalled their best ever performance in the FA Trophy by beating Paulton Rovers on Saturday and reaching the third qualifying round.

Wood gave the majority of the possession to the home side, preferring to sit in and use the pace of Jordan Morris in particular on the break.

The first chance came the way of Paulton’s David Sims on four minutes, but his shot at the back post was saved by the feet of Burton in the Shortwood goal.

Two minutes later, Harry Burns appeared to be pushed in the back by Hedges inside the penalty area, followed by a kick out at Burns by Hedges (although he did not connect with the Shortwood player).

Despite the linesman flagging, the referee waved play on.

Shortwood took the lead in the twenty-first minute; Ben Prictor crossed from the left, and a brilliant Sesay save stopped Taylor’s header, but the ball fell to Price at the back post, whose low cross-shot was bundled in by Liam Meredith.

Ten minutes later, Shortwood doubled their lead; a throw-in was controlled by Liam Meredith in the Paulton box, and a one-two between Meredith and Burns allowed Freeman to make a late run, and, found by Meredith, he finished low into the net from close range.

With under 10 minutes of the half to play, Paulton scored a fantastic goal which must have given the home fans hope of a comeback in the second half.

Jack Ball controlled a James Byrne pass with his chest before laying off to Monelle with the outside of his foot.

Monelle struck it first time with his right foot from twenty yards and Burton could only watch as it flew high into the net.

Paulton piled on the pressure throughout the second half, but Shortwood came agonisingly close on three occasions when hitting Paulton on the break.

A Monelle cross was met at the back-post by Hillard in the opening minute, but Hillard failed to connect properly amid claims of a penalty.

Two minutes later, Ball headed just wide from Ford’s cross, before Hillard’s header from a corner rather fortunately fell at the feet of Burton.

With just under twenty-five minutes to play, Jordan Morris was able to use his electric pace on the break for Shortwood, and, having run from halfway, his shot from the edge of the box skidded just past the post.

Two minutes later, Taylor was released on the right, and his cross found Morris, but the winger’s volley was mishit and it bounced wide.

With seventy-one minutes played, a deep Paulton cross was deflected up into the path of Burton, but he was unable to gather it under pressure from Ball.

Somehow the ball failed to cross the line in the ensuing chaos, with a combination of Burton and Ryan Meredith blocking Ball’s desperate attempts to shuffle it over the line, before the ball went behind for a corner.

With three minutes of normal time remaining, Freeman’s header found Liam Meredith, who’s shot on the bounce dropped inches wide of the post with Sesay in no man’s land.

Sesay joined the attack for a free kick in the first minute of added time, but his header from Harvey’s dead ball went just wide.

Shortwood’s reward for Paul Ton Rovers will see the Nailsworth side travel to Vanarama National League South outfit East Thurrock United in the final qualifying round of the FA Trophy. The game will take place on November 25.