It was an Ampthill horror afternoon for Walthamstow as they bowed out of the FA Vase with defeat to Step 6 Ampthill. Stow dominated the game but couldn’t find the goals they sought as the game finished level after 90 minutes and the hosts taking full advantage of the spot-kicks.
Right from the off, it was Stow who were on the front foot. Dwade James thought he had broken the deadlock in the 2 minutes of the game as he squeezed the ball past the keeper but it deemed offside before Walthamstow pressed well but neither James or Connor Scully could get off inside the box. Walthamstow found it hard to break down Ampthill as they looked to open the scoring. Max Mitchell fired a low free-kick into the box which was flicked on by Scully at the near post but the shot was comfortable for the keeper.
The first real chance for the hosts saw them break after intercepting the ball on the edge of their own box but a good covering run from Michael Osei meant the move didn’t come to anything. Despite the odd chance, it was Walthamstow who came forward. Dwade James flicked on a header from a free-kick but it was wide before he made a good run into the box but a last ditch tackle prevented any shot. Ampthill had some good possession in the Stow box but the eventual shot was well held by Connor Sansom before down the other end, Jon Clements tried to chip the ball over the keeper but his effort was just over the bar.
The deadlock was broken in the 33rd minute as the Amps took the lead. An initial shot was smacked against the bar before their 7 shot across the keeper and tucked the ball into the bottom corner. Despite the delight of the home supporters, it wasn’t long before Stow were on level terms. A free-kick from Vinny Murphy nestled into the top corner despite the Ampthill keeper getting a hand to the ball. The goal gave the Stags confidence as they dominated until the half-time whistle. A shot from Michael Toner was tipped over the bar by the keeper before a corner from Mitchell curled towards the back post but no one was there to tap it in. A shot from Clements was fired over before Scully could only fire over as he linked well with Dwade James and the teams went into the break level.
It was Walthamstow who began the second-half strongest and they looked to get an early goal. A cross from Jack Folan was just over Dwade James in the box before being cleared by the hosts whilst a free-kick from Max Mitchell was fired into the box but James’ header was comfortable for the keeper.
Ampthill had better chances in the second-half but they couldn’t take their chances. A shot was cleared off the line before a shot from the Amps 10 was comfortable for the keeper. The Stags also rattled the crossbar as Mitchell fired a free-kick against the bar before Dwade James got away from the defenders but his pass in the box was cleared. A free-kick from Ampthill was deflected off the wall before the resulting corner was fired over everyone. As the game reached the final 10 minutes, Walthamstow had a couple of good chances but the Ampthill keeper stood stronger to deny Dwade James. The ball was played through to James but the keeper got down low well before a couple of minutes later, James rounded the keeper but his shot was cleared behind.
The Stags continued to push for a winner as the clock ticked down. Dwade James picked up a loose ball but his chip was saved by the on-rushing keeper before a shot from Jason Beck was well saved from close range. The resulting corner for Stow was flicked into a dangerous area by Ampthill’s 8 before being cleared before Toner’s shot from the edge was over the bar. The hosts sought a shock as they looked to score a winner. Stow defended well before a shot from the edge was well saved. There were shouts for a penalty as Danny Johnson was brought down in the box but the referee gave him a second yellow for diving and Stow were down to 10 men as the game went into added time. There was a scramble in the Stow box which was eventually cleared before Ampthill missed their chance to win it in the 93rd minute as a shot was fired over.
The game went straight to penalties. Dwade James stepped up and converted his spot kick before Ampthill’s 3 also scored his kick. Max Mitchell stepped up and put Stow back in front but the Amps 2 brought it level. The Ampthill keeper managed to save both Tim Monsheju’s and Michael Toner’s penalties as their 10 and 5 converted to send the Amps through to the Second Round Proper.