VIDEO: Reeve sees red as Wisbech Town’s FA Vase dream is ended by Dunston UTS
CENTRE-BACK Anthony Reeve was sent off as Wisbech Town’s FA Vase dream evaporated with a 3-1 defeat to Dunston UTS on Saturday.
Reeve, who starred in last week’s 2-2 draw at the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium, was given his marching orders on the stroke of half time, leaving the Fenmen staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat in their fourth round replay.
A brace from Andrew Bulford and a Steven Goddard strike sent the Gateshead outfit cruising into the last 16 - but a spirited second-half display and a majestic free-kick from Chris Bacon gave the Fenmen faithful something to show for their 400-mile round trip.
Wisbech began the day as 6/1 outsiders - according to the town’s Ladbrokes store - but Steve Appleby’s troops had the better of the opening exchanges at the UTS Stadium.
Wingers Matt Lunn and Callum Reed beat their full backs repeatedly but the Fenmen were unable to produce the final ball, or finish, which would have put them in command.
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Instead, it was Dunston who took a 28th minute lead against the run of play, when Goddard arrived at the far post to slot the ball past Ryan Rayner.
Goddard was involved again as the hosts doubled their lead six minutes later. His driving run saw the ball bobble to Bulford, who side-footed a neat finish to give Dunston breathing space.
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Any hope that the Fenmen still had of defying their long odds appeared to capitulate moments before the break, when Reeve’s lunge brought down Goddard as he raced through on goal. The referee brandished a straight red card and Wisbech’s dreams of a Wembley final already seemed a distant memory.
But Appleby’s players showed why they were the final Ridgeons League team in the competition in the second half, as they refused to lie down despite the hosts’ numerical advantage.
When Bulford beat Jon Fairweather to the ball and rounded Rayner for 3-0, it looked as though a rout could be on the cards. But the Fenmen dug deep and even managed to give the two coach-loads of travelling support something to cheer in the 66th minute.
Chris Bacon was bundled over on the edge of the box and, after picking himself up, the powerful striker proceeded to bend a wonderful free-kick over the wall and into the top corner. It was a moment of class in an otherwise miserable afternoon for the Fenmen.
Dunston’s reward for the victory will be a home tie against Bethnal Green in the last 16. Wisbech travel to Felixstowe & Walton United in the Ridgeons Premier Division on Saturday.