20 years ago I lived in Desborough (Northamptonshire) for just over 5 years but never went to see Desborough Town FC play. Well yesterday I put that right going to watch Desborough Town play Stourport Swifts in the last 32 of the FA Vase.
Desborough nicknamed Ar Town were formed in 1896 and play at Waterworks Field close to the centre of town and the ground is distinguished not only by the water tower but their four gigantic floodlights. There can’t be many of this size left in the country and they were always a welcome sign of coming home particularly driving along the old A6 now by-passed. Desborough have spent their lives in the United Counties League or previous incarnations.
Stourport Swifts FC history goes back to an 1882 start and have reached as high as the Southern League in their journey and currently play their football in the Midland Football league. Their nickname is quite obviously the Swifts.
On a very grey day I arrived 15 minutes before kick-off paying only £2.50 for a concession ticket. The man in front of me bought the last program, one of only 85 printed for the day, for a crowd of 290.
I bought a raffle ticket instead and missed the tin of biscuits by one number, you guessed it the man in front of me bought that too. It must have been his lucky day. I think he was a Stourport fan as I walked in with their fans who had just come out of the club house having come over in the one fans coach.
A minute’s silence was held before kick-off to remember Robert Bindley, a lifelong supporter and committee member who had passed away on Tuesday.
Stourport were the more physical side whereas Desborough passed the ball around with greater skill. It was Stourport who took the lead with a crisp finish from their stand out player Dan Sweeney. Sam Beasley turned a ball into his own net which brought things back all square and it remained 1-1 at half time.
Virtually all of the fans headed for the club house and the staff managed to serve everyone at the bar, hot drinks or hot food counters. A coffee for a pound and a pie for two pounds was definitely not taking advantage of anyone. I couldn’t understand though why you had to queue for your coffee and then your pie when they were in the same area?
Back to the football and almost immediately Stourport were ahead again when Dan Sweeney again showed his class with a 25 yard bender over the goalkeeper’s head from a tight angle into the top left hand corner. Dan a product of Kidderminster Harriers youth set up joined Stourport last summer but surely should be playing at a higher level.
Like the first half within 10 minutes Desborough were level again this time through John Dean and for a long period dominated the game and looked the most likely to score. But in the last 10 minutes before the end of 90 minutes they seemed to run out of legs and looked tired.
In the gloom of the first half of extra time a penalty was awarded after a melee in the Desborough goalmouth and Stouport captain Sam Beasley made amends for his earlier error placing his spot kick to the right of the Desborough goalkeeper.
Nick MacPherson made it 4-2 in the second half of extra time with a breakaway goal when Desborough had been pushing hard for an equaliser. It was all over and the game petered out and Stourport marched on to the next round.
It was a great afternoon out, a very friendly crowd, good food, a game where everyone gave their all with a quality that bellied this level of football. A complete contrast to the FA cup where teams show disdain for such a great competition, Aston Villa previous 7 times winners of the Trophy made 10 changes to their normal side and crashed out to Peterborough, how far this great club has fallen.
Good luck in the rest of the competition Stourport.
Images of the Ground, Water Tower, the amazing Floodlights and some action.
For fairness below is the match report from Stourports website on the game. https://www.stourportswiftsfc.co.uk
Sweeney double puts Swifts in Round 5
Desborough Town 2 Stourport Swifts 4 (AET 90 mins 2-2) FA Vase R4 Att: 290
Two goals from Dan Sweeney gave Stourport Swifts a place in the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Vase.
Sweeney scored to give Stourport the lead after six minutes when Aaron Lloyd flicked on Myles Newman’s pass, and he turned defender Aidan Bradshaw to drive low past keeper Chris Jones from 15 yards.
Desborough quickly responded, and Dom Richards saved well to keep out a low shot from Andrew Hall, but five minutes later could do nothing to prevent skipper Sam Beasley turning a low cross from the right past his own keeper and level the score.
Alex Perry missed the best chance to put Swifts back in front when he blazed wide from 8 yards out after a fine cross from Sweeney picked him out.
In the first attack of the second half Swifts were ahead again when Sweeney broke clear of the Desborough defence on the right and curled a spectacular 25 yarder past Jones from the narrowest of angles. The lead once again only lasted 10 minutes, and Desborough were level when top scorer John Dean was on hand at the far post to fire low past Richards from close range after Swifts failed to clear.
Desborough then produced their best spell of the match to give the Swifts creaking defence some heavy pressure, but Matt Fulloway and Harry Higginson were outstanding, while Richards twice saved well from Dan White and Dean once again.
With five minutes of normal time remaining, Sweeney looked likely to win it, but shot wide from 8 yards out after turning Leo Adam in the box.
Eight minutes into extra time Swifts broke the deadlock when Matt Fulloway was brought down from behind after a free kick from the right, and skipper Beasley blasted his spot kick high past Jones to restore their lead.
As Desborough pushed hard to get back on terms in the second half of extra time, Ashley Parsons-Smith picked out Nick MacPherson on the left, who cooly cut inside two defenders to slot past Jones from 10 yards and give Swifts a place in the last 16.
SWIFTS: Richards, Caines, Fulloway, Higginson, Beasley, Sweeney, Perry, Priest, Newman, Lloyd, MacPherson. SUBS USED: Parsons-Smith, Joe Hanson, Bailey