Hall turn attentions to ‘realistic’ opportunity of Wembley glory

SEEING RED: Steve Holder, right, was sent off for Mildenhall Town as they exited the FA Cup on Tuesday night
SEEING RED: Steve Holder, right, was sent off for Mildenhall Town as they exited the FA Cup on Tuesday night
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Mildenhall Town 1

Witham Town 3

Mildenhall Town manager Christian Appleford has turned his attention towards the FA Vase after Hall’s FA Cup adventure ended on Tuesday.

Although Alex Steed put Hall ahead, Steve Holder’s red card helped turn the game in Witham’s favour and the Essex outfit scored three times to set up a second qualifying round tie at Hemel Hempstead Town.

But with one door to Wembley closed, another opens as Appleford welcomes his old side Stowmarket Town to Recreation Way for a second qualifying round tie in the FA Vase tomorrow (3pm).

“The Vase is a competition we can realistically have a chance of going far in,” said Appleford, whose side will only be up against teams from their level and below in the Vase. “You’re never going to win the FA Cup, you just want to go as far as you can, so let’s focus on Saturday and try to get to Wembley that way.”

Witham — who are among the early pacesetters in Ryman One North, a league higher than Hall — were strong in the early stages, but the hosts grabbed the lead against the run of play.

Craig Nurse swung the ball out left and Ben Coe fired in a first-time cross that the visitors failed to clear, allowing Steed to swoop and steer the ball underneath goalkeeper Jason Baker.

Holder’s first yellow card arrived for a foul in the 22nd minute and that proved crucial 10 minutes later when he clashed with defender Paul King and was shown a second.

Despite being down to 10 men, Mildenhall were close to doubling their advantage through Aaron Turner, whose deflected shot was clawed round the post by Baker.

However, Kris Newby — who had been perhaps a touch fortunate only to see yellow himself for a high push on David Cooper earlier in the game — equalised before the break when his shot squirmed through the grasp of Josh Pope and Witham sealed their route through when Rob Whitnell and Danny Emmanuel headed home after the interval.

“Even with 10 men I think we’ve been the better footballing side,” said Appleford, who was unhappy that Witham’s King and Newby were not sent off in the first half.

Striker Allicion Blake is a couple of weeks away from fitness after limping off on Saturday, while winger Kris Thomas is close to on a return.

Hall also travel to Thetford Town in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division on Tuesday (7.45pm).