VERDICT - Desborough's Vase hopes are ended by the Swifts
Desborough Town's Wembley dreams were ended as Stourport Swifts booked their place in the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Vase with a 4-2 win after another marathon afternoon at the Waterworks Field.
For the third game in a row in the competition, Ar Tarn’s tie went to extra-time but, unlike the previous two rounds, the hosts were unable to finish the job in the 30-minute period.
This time, it was Stourport who pulled away in extra-time with Desborough left to reflect on what might have been.
Certainly after John Dean had brought them level at 2-2, Chris Bradshaw’s team had the better of things in terms of possession.
But they were unable to convert that possession into clear-cut chances and they were made to pay as the visitors took control in extra-time.
It all left Bradshaw frustrated but he was quick to look ahead with Desborough facing a United Counties League Knockout Cup semi-final against Leicester Nirvana at the Waterworks Field on Tuesday night.
“I thought we had the upper hand in the first half and the second half,” the Ar Tarn boss said.
“But with 10 minutes to go we stopped and then all through extra-time we stopped.
“Jason Turner coming off meant we lost our shape but everything behind that should have been the same.
“We conceded some really poor goals but we have fought back and then we have given away a silly penalty and that killed us.
“I am disappointed now but I will pat the players on the back. We have had a good run in the Vase and we have to bottle this disappointment and make sure we don’t feel the same after the cup game on Tuesday.”
Stourport started the brighter and they went in front after six minutes when their best player on the day, Dan Sweeney turned his marker and beat Chris Jones with a low finish.
But Desborough responded well and Dean forced Dom Richards into a good save before they levelled when an excellent flowing move ended with Andy Hall’s low cross being turned into his own net by Sam Beasley.
Alex Perry, for the visitors, and Liam Boath, for Desborough, were both just off target before the break but it was Stourport who regained the lead two minutes after the restart.
Again, Sweeney turned his marker too easily and this time his chip towards the far post dropped into the corner of the net.
Jones produced an excellent double save to deny Aaron Lloyd and then Beasley but, from there, Ar Tarn too control.
Hall fired into the side netting after Dean had been denied by Richards but the pacey forward did bring Desborough level just before the hour, stabbing home after substitute Will Arnold had diverted Dan White’s cross into his path.
The hosts enjoyed the majority of possession after that but were unable to carve out any clear openings and it needed a fine save from Jones to keep out Nick Macpherson’s effort to take the game into extra-time.
Unfortunately, the extra 30 minutes belonged to the visitors. Beasley put them in front for a third time as he coolly sent Jones the wrong way from the penalty spot after Aaron Davies had bundled Matt Fulloway to the ground in the area.
And the game was well and truly up two minutes into the second period when Macpherson cut in from the left side of the area before producing a good, low finish.
With that, the hopes of the Desborough players and the majority of the near-300 crowd were ended as the visitors celebrated their win in style.
Desborough: Jones; Adams, Davies, Bell (sub Burgess, 51 mins); Bradshaw, White, Hall, McInally (sub Arnold, 51 mins), Boath; Turner (sub Law, 83 mins), Dean. Sub not used: Walpole.
Stourport: Richards; Caines, Fulloway, Higginson (sub Bailey, 117 mins), Beasley; Sweeney, Priest, Perry, Newman (sub Hanson, 75 mins), Macpherson; Lloyd (sub Parsons Smith, 71 mins). Subs not used: Smith, Grant.
Goals: Sweeney (6 mins, 0-1), Beasley og (18 mins, 1-1), Sweeney (47 mins, 1-2), Dean (59 mins, 2-2), Beasley pen (97 mins, 2-3), Macpherson (107 mins, 2-4).
Bookings: Bell, Newman, Bradshaw, Boath, Fulloway, Davies, Adams (all fouls), Lloyd (kicking the ball away), Sweeney (unsporting behaviour).