Fairford Town 6

Shortwood United 1

FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round

Shortwood were knocked out of the FA Vase by an excellent Fairford side on Saturday, but the result, let alone the scoreline, could have been very different had Shortwood not been without seven regular starters, the majority of whom were missing through injury, writes Harry Ash.

Fairford opened the scoring after thirteen minutes, and by the twenty-sixth were 4-0 up and out of sight. The first came from the right foot of Ben Lodge, who picked the ball up twenty-five yards from goal and smashed it into the top right-hand corner. Five minutes later, Mason Thompson’s run down the right ended with his low cross being turned in by Connor Thompson from six yards. Lodge scored his second, and Fairford’s third, halfway through the first half, latching onto Kallum Thomas’ pass before cutting inside onto his right foot and finding the near corner. Nathan Hawkins made it 4-0 four minutes later, his low free kick scudding under the Shortwood wall and beating the unsighted Adam Clark.

Shortwood’s only real chance of the first half fell to Kenneth Mills, who robbed Callum Preece of possession a few yards from goal, but his shot was blocked by the recovering Preece.

Fairford added a fifth ten minutes into the second half, with Lodge again the architect, as he cut inside from the left before feeding Harvey Scholes, who placed his finish into the left-hand corner. Another Fairford goal scorer found an assist twenty minutes later, as Hawkins floated a pass over the Shortwood defence, inviting Dan Bailey to unorthodoxly guide the ball into the net with his knee.

Having got their sixth, Fairford noticeably took a step back, allowing Shortwood a consolation goal and chances for another. The goal came from the not-fully fit Troy Budd, a half time substitute, who ran onto Mills’ through ball before confidently curling into the bottom right-hand corner. That made it 6-1 with eight minutes to play. Budd was clearly keen to make an impact in the closing stages, coming close on two more occasions, the latter producing a rebound chance for Mills, but he was denied once again by Preece. Wood’s Josh Kerr was presented with the final chance of the game, but his header flew over the bar from a tight angle after Matt Blythe’s free kick.

Adam Clark, Josh Kerr, Finn Blythe (Joe Tryner 46’), Tom Hoskins, Jacob Nowell, Ben Snook (C), Kenneth Mills, Tom Black, Luke Soule, Lee Bowles (Troy Budd 46’), Jamie Walker (yellow card 25’) (Matt Blythe 70’)