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LONGWELL GREEN SPORTS 2 - 3 IVYBRIDGE TOWN (AET)

Saturday 23rd September 2017 - 15:00 k.o.
Shellards Road, Longwell Green (view on map) - 16.4 miles round trip
FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round
Admission: 6
Attendance: 58

Scorers: Longwell Green - M. Summers, Cullingford / Ivybridge Town - Truelove, Shanley, Stevens
Yellow Cards: Longwell Green - M. Summers, No. 11, Harmer, No. 15 / Ivybridge Town - Bromhead
Sent Off: Longwell Green - No. 3 [serious foul play]

Until recently, Longwell Green was just somewhere you would go to go bowling or to go to the big Asda. Located a stones throw from Bitton, Longwell Green is in the far reaches of the sprawling south eastern Bristol suburbs. Shellards Road is just off the main road into Bristol and offers superb views of the surrounding countryside. In all honesty the ground itself is somewhat overshadowed by its surroundings - on the near side is a small seated stand, right next door to a covered standing area. The remaining edges of the pitch are just afforded a low railing. The home side came into this having only scored 3 goals in all competetitions and rock bottom of the Western League Premier division. Their Devonian visitors from a step below are managed by former Blackburn Rovers defencer Nicky Marker, for whom Kenny Dalglish once paid half a million pounds.

The match took a while to really get going, but appeared bad tempered from the start - both sides taking every opportunity to have a go at the referee for his admittedly dubious decisions. Longwell's Mark Summers perhaps lucky to avoid an early booking for his protestations. However, on 16 minutes, it was Summers who would open the scoring with a tidy finish after a mistake from the Ivybridge defence. The visitors seemed intent on playing out from the back - a tactic which would regularly put their hearts in their mouths due to some careless passing. Eventually, though, the Ivies found their place in the game and began to exert pressure on the home side. A last ditch tackle from McAlinden would deny Town's Todd Zimmerman, while with a few minutes left the home keeper collided with James Rowe. The away side wanted a penalty; the ref awarded a drop ball which was probably fair. The dying moments of the half saw corner after corner for the team in green, Longwell keeper Jackson doing well on a couple of occassions to deny the visitors.

The second half started with a half volley from an Ivybridge forward flying over the bar. A couple of minutes later, goalscorer Summers was harshly booked for when his one-on-one finish was deemed as kicking the ball away after being flagged offside. On the hour mark Sam Stevens should have got the equaliser but mishit from 6 yards out, and 2 minutes later his strike partner Louden dragged a shot wide. The goal did come and it was substitute Truelove who got it. A superb cross from the right wing was met equally well giving Jackson little chance in the home goal. Ivybridge were again on top and Longwell were grateful again to their goalkeeper for pulling off a great save from another header. He could do nothing about Shanley's sweetly struck half volley, however, which seemingly won the match for the Devon club. To their credit, Sports fought back and with a minute to go half-time sub Cullingford headed in from close range after a top drawer save from visiting keeper Martin Piper. The aforementioned Piper would become even more involved in the match as will become evident.

So extra time was on the menu. 5 minutes in, Sam Stevens made amends for his earlier miss, converting a low cross from James Rowe. It could, and perhaps should, have been game set and match as the first period of extra time came to a close - Louden heading wide at the far post. The second half was far more eventful as Longwell probed for an equaliser. Early on, a defensive header from a Sports corner was almost headed in by a defender. A few minutes later, Longwell Green had a half-decent shout for a penalty turned down by the officials who were becoming less and less popular with every passing minute. Tempers were always in danger of fraying and indeed a reckless tackle from the Longwell left back earned him a straight red card and led to a melee involving just about every player on the pitch. The mood had definitely soured and when Piper stayed down after an accidental collision with a substitute, the shouts from the home fans were not for the faint hearted. Try as they might the Bristol club could not find a way past the Ivybridge defence and on the final whistle Piper did little to ingratiate himself to the Longwell faithful by taunting them about their perilous league position.

So it was a win for the away side who scraped through to the next round. An eventful match at a pleasant little ground with lovely views and a fair bit of character. Longwell will now be able to focus on league survival - no mean feat on today's viewing.

View the photos from this match.