Cleeve’s cup campaign stalls as Wantage cruise into next round

Wantage Town sent Bishops Cleeve out of the FA Cup at the First Qualifying Round stage with a clinical, professional performance at Kayte Lane that saw the travelling side never really get out of second gear.

Following a flurry of early chances in the opening moments where Stephen Cleal’s side tried to take the game to their visitors, Wantage showed why they are unbeaten this season by swiftly brushing aside the Mitres.

Jack Watts struck a tame effort at Aulsberry within 90 seconds, after he barely tested the Wantage keeper a minute earlier, before a long ball wasn’t dealt with by Kirk Layton at the back, allowing Stephen Robinson to hit a half volley past Ollie Hall to give Wantage an early lead.

The desire was still there from Cleeve, though. Liam Wright showed some nice determination to win the ball back on halfway before feeding an early cross to Elliot Kennedy, but the Mitres marksman miscued his effort.

Cleeve were almost masters of their own downfall, as they were robbed in possession on the edge of their own box, but Stephenson’s shot was narrowly off target.

Wantage were knocking on the door and it would not be long before they had a prime opportunity to double their advantage, when Scholes was brought down in the box by Adam Mace.

Chris Jackson stepped up and swept his spot kick past Ollie Hall who, to his credit, almost kept it out but the power was too much to deal with.

The visitors then had two great chances to add on to the scoring, but Hall was on hand to deny Scholes from 12 yards, before Robinson scuffed well wide from six yards out with the goal at his mercy.

The second half was a scrappy, stop-start affair with fouls and yellow cards galore. At one point, the referee brandished three cautions in the space of as many minutes; Ryan New and Adam Mace were booked for Cleeve with Harvey Scholes’ name taken for Wantage.

Cleeve tried to put some pressure on the away side but they were being limited to shots from distance. Ash Davies saw his strike deflected for a corner, before a long range effort was easily held by Aulsberry.

The game should have been well and truly put to bed by Stephen Robinson when he hit the post just moments after coming on as a sub.

The final, half chance of the game fell to Mace as he fired a well struck volley towards goal from 35 yards. Aulsberry spilled it but gathered at the second attempt.

Bishops Cleeve: O. Hall, Wright, Mace, Ford, Layton (capt), New, Iddles, Davies, Kennedy, Martin, Watts

Subs not used: Llewellyn, T. Hall

Wantage Town: Aulsberry, Comer, Flanagan, Cheetham, Jackson, Cox, Glover, Threlfall, S. Robinson, Scholes, Dunmall

Subs not used: Heggie

Attendance: 147