Great Wakering Rovers reach Wembley after tense shootout drama

Great Wakering Rovers v Worcester City – Isuzu FA Vase Semi-Final Second Leg – Burroughs Park – Report

Great Wakering Rovers 2-1 Worcester City

(2-2 on aggregate – Great Wakering Rovers won 5-4 on penalties)

Great Wakering Rovers’ Jack Gordon celebrates his spectacular opening goal (courtesy of Nicky Hayes)

Great Wakering Rovers are at Wembley for the first time in their 105-year history after holding their nerve to win a dramatic Isuzu FA Vase semi-final penalty shootout against Hellenic League champions Worcester City at a sold-out Burroughs Park.

Trailing to Elliott Hartley’s goal from the first leg at the Sixways Stadium, Rovers made a flying start when Jake Gordon’s thundering volley left City goalkeeper Haydn Whitcombe clutching thin air in the thirteenth minute.

However, the tie swung back the way of the West Midlanders when Dylan Hart was in the right place at the right time to nod home just after the half-hour mark.

Rovers pressed during the second period, but had to wait until seven minutes from time to force a shootout, when substitute Max Gnandi rifled through a clutch of players from ten yards, much to the delight, and relief of the home crowd.

Jack Nolde’s kick in sudden death gave the Rovers an advantage, before goalkeeper, Luis Shamshoum sparked wild scenes of celebration from the majority amongst the record 1,502 crowd by saving from Chris Knight and setting up an all-Essex Senior League final at the National Stadium on Saturday, May 11.

We’re going to Wembley! Luis Shamshoum celebrates his wining save in the shootout (Courtesy of Nicky Hayes)


Brian Jeeves