Biggleswade FC score late to beat Stowmarket in FA Vase

Pat McCafferty celebrates. Picture: Guy Wills
Pat McCafferty celebrates. Picture: Guy Wills

Pat McCafferty’s late header sent Biggleswade FC into the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Vase for the first time in their history at the Carlsberg Stadium on Sunday.

His 87th minute goal saw them beat Stowmarket Town 1-0 in front of a club record crowd of 527 and secure a home tie against Windsor FC.

Abraham Eze. Picture: Guy Wills

Abraham Eze. Picture: Guy Wills

Their Fifth Round opponents play in the Hellenic League Premier - the same level as Biggleswade FC - but are currently 14th in the table.

There was a real party and feel good atmosphere at the ground from the moment Stow’s three coaches and a minibus arrived with supporters in Superheroes Fancy Dress and in full voice ahead of this much-anticipated clash.

The more experienced visitors roared on by over 200 supporters seemed to settle the quicker. On the quarter-hour mark Michael Simpson had to be at his best to turn the ball away from danger after the lively Remi Garrett put in a teasing low cross following a decent build up.

It took FC until midway point of the first half to start making an impression. A move saw Adam Hunt, Eze, Alex Marsh and then Pat McCafferty combine with the latter bursting into the penalty area before forcing a save at the second attempt from Callum Robinson.

Alex Marsh. Picture: Guy Wills

Alex Marsh. Picture: Guy Wills

Another smart piece of play around the box from Alex Marsh saw him set the unmarked Lee Northfield, but fortunately for the visitors he scuffed his shot and Robinson saved easily.

The main talking point of the first half came on 34 minutes. A ball over the top from Matt Paine put Ollie Canfer in the clear. FC keeper Dan Child was quick to see the danger and burst from his penalty area, but Canfer got there first and attempted the lob. The ball hit Child in the face and his momentum saw him collide with Canfer.

As Canfer and Child both hit the deck, the Stow fans were convinced the FC keeper had handled the ball and therefore should be sent off.

The Old Gold & Blacks started where they left off at the beginning of the second half when a snap shot from the right hand side of the box by Tom Matthews was well parried by Dan Child.

Eze was starting to become more prevalent as the tie entered its final third and his and FC’s big chance arrived 17 minutes from time. A inch-perfect through ball from Ryan Inskip put Eze in the clear but his slight delay in pulling the trigger allowed Leon Ottley-Gooch to pull off a terrific last ditch challenge to deny him.

The tie was on a knife-edge throughout and McCafferty timed his knockout blow to perfection. A free-kick on the right hand side from Alex Marsh was pinpoint and FC had players queueing up at the far post, but it was McCafferty that rose to guide his header beyond Robinson and break Stow hearts.

FC should have wrapped the tie up twice in the dying seconds. First Marsh squared for Eze and the chance got away. Then Northfield danced past a few challenges before the ball was scrambled clear.

The result was a little harsh for Stowmarket and their incredible supporters who contributed to a fantastic day for all that were part of it.

FC return to SSML Premier action with back to back home games, against Oxhey Jets on Saturday and Leighton Town on Tuesday.