Sholing are through to the fifth round of FA Vase after beating Essex side Hullbridge Sports 3-1 at the Silverlake Arena tonight.
The Boatmen, who are now the only Sydenhams Premier Division side left in the competition after Blackfield & Langley and Alresford lost their respective matches, cruised to victory - never looking out of their comfort zone against youthful opposition.
It was men against boys from the off, as Lee Wort’s brace put Dave Diaper’s Wessex high fliers 2-1 up at the break before Byron Mason’s effort sealed the win to set up a tie with Blackfield’s conquerors, Larkhall Athletic, in the last 16. Rob Hodgson scored for the away side.
The game set off at blistering pace with the Boatmen looking much sharper than Hullbridge, who hadn’t played in six weeks.
Mike Carter and Marvin McLean whipped dangerous crosses into the box that Sports were finding difficult to clear, struggling to cope with the pace that the Boatmen had set. On ten minutes Sholing had the ball in the net as Ashley Jarvis connected with Marc Diaper’s ball into the area.
The forward slotted home with aplomb but was flagged for offside. That set the tone for the attacker who had a frustrating game.
On 15 minutes, though, Sholing took the lead through Wort. McLean picked the ball up on the left flank and, with a shuffle, he lost his marker. He then beat a second man with a dummy creating space to run.
The tricky winger took the ball deep into the box and squared. Jarvis failed to connect but Wort was waiting to pounce at the back post, rifling the ball into the roof of the net as he slid in unmarked.
Hullbridge had barely been in the tie when they equalised. Finally linking up a couple of passes, the ball was swung heavily to the back post from the left.
Matt Brown in the Sholing net screamed “’keeper’s!!” but completely misjudged allowing Hodgson to loop a header into an empty net.
Frustrated by the mistake, Sholing were temporarily paralysed allowing Sports to move the ball around and attempt to take the lead.
That, however, was shortlived as Wort again fired the Silverlake Arena side ahead.
This time Barry Mason chipped him through. He travelled to the edge of the box unchallenged, thrashing home from 10 yards with his right foot – top right.
The Sholing frontman was in buoyant form and should have completed his hat-trick on several occasions.
Jarvis, first, knocked to him with time and space in the box but his shot sailed well wide.
A great touch set him up another effort but he was denied again as stopper Bobby Mason pulled of a reaction save.
Sholing took a narrow lead into the break and it was widely expected that the Essex side would come out battling.
Instead, the Boatmen continued to dominate and were further ahead on the hour as Byron Mason lashed in as he found time and space in the box after the ball came loose from a melee.
Wort was searching hard for his hat-trick but it never came as he shot over from 18 yards and missed an inviting one-on-one after coming off the right wing, chipping well wide.
“Lee could have five or six tonight,” said Diaper. “He was creating chances for himself and others, but it just didn’t come in the end.
“They were a hard-working bunch of lads. They’d be a mid-table team in the Wessex and they came here not really knowing what we’re about and we were too much for them.
“The lads were really good, I was very frustrated to concede the goal and we should have scored more, but the important thing is we got the result and we’re through to the next round.”