Longlevens clinched their place in the draw for the Second Round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history with a 1-0 win over Cowes Sports, thanks to a dramatic Tommy Callinan winner with just a minute left of extra time.
Levens went into the game having lost to Reading City last weekend had looked short of confidence, but they welcomed back experienced duo Brad Martin up front and captain Shaun O’Connor in midfield.
The hosts started bright and looked to get in the front foot, with Harry Emmett and Tommy Callinan freed up in the middle by having O’Connor in the holding role. Emmett fired wide and both forwards Brad Martin and Josh Watts linked up well.
Watts forced a great save from Cowes keeper Ed Hatt with a driven effort from 25 yards. The visitors’ keeper got down well to his right to get a strong palm on the effort from the former Gloucester City U18s man.
Brad Martin showed his class throughout the first half in particular, holding the ball up well and taking it to a shaky looking Cowes defence. Martin fired wide at the near post from the left corner of the box, before Watts skipped beyond Callum Chase and fired wide across goal from the same side.
For Cowes, their best chances of the half saw Jez Conway fire over from about 8 yards and captain Gareth Bricknell rattled the Longlevens woodwork with a scorcher from 25 yards leaving Ash Wintle rooted.
Into the second half and Cowes came out of blocks and looked to take it to their hosts, with Fin Phillips seeing more of the ball in the middle and started to influence the game, however Ash Wintle was a proverbial spectator for the most part.
Ryan Dunn went down in the box and even though the Longlevens fans and bench went up for a penalty, the officials dismissed the appeals.
After the defeat to Reading City last week manager Craig Martin told us that he wasn’t too disappointed as his side created a lot of chances, but he would have been growing concerned as the second half wore on that his side were creating but not taking too many chances.
Emmett and Callinan managed to get closer to Martin and Watts up front and it enabled Longlevens to break quicker, with Callinan going close before Martin fired wide from Ryan Dunn’s cross.
Cowes forced Wintle into his most strenuous save when a diagonal ball caught out George Callinan and Michael Mcerney’s low shot had to be palmed round the post.
Josh Watts had the golden chance to win the game in the 90 minutes, when Shaun O’Connor’s cross fell to him on the turn, but the former Cheltenham Saracens man could only hook the ball over from just outside the six yard box.
Extra time continued in the fashion of the 90 minutes, with Longlevens on the front foot and looking very threatening.
The game became very open in the second period of extra time and Longlevens looked like they had missed their best chances and penalties were imminent. Harry Emmett’s weaving run ended with a right footed shot from the edge of the box, with another great save by Hatt in the Cowes goal to keep it goalless.
Substitute James Barnett had a glorious opportunity, in fact what felt like the opportunity for the hosts. After a terrific ball in from the left, the former Charlton Rovers defender leapt highest but could only head the ball over from 6 yards.
Then with penalties looming, Longlevens had one final chance. Shaun O’Connor played a quick free kick down the right to Emmett. And after the initial clearance was picked up by the impressive Ollie Long, the ball came back to Emmett who cut in on his left and curled in a beautiful cross for Tommy Callinan to bundle home causing joyous scenes for the hosts.
The win sees Longlevens’ prize money earned from FA competitions move over the £8,000 mark for this season and more importantly sees them in Monday’s draw for the Second Round.
Longlevens: Wintle, Dunn, G Callinan, Long, Williams, Emmett, T Callinan, O’Connor, Watts, Martin, Johns
Subs: Emery, Barnett, Hammett, Cornell, Roach
Cowes Sports: Hatt, C White, Sexton, Cranwell, Chase, Perrin, Phillips, Bricknell, Mcerney, Conway, Wykes
Subs: A White, McFarlane, J White, McCormack
Severn Sport Man of the Match – Harry Emmett (Longlevens)