Alton hold their nerve to win tense penalty shootout

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Action from Alton’s 3-1 defeat against Sholing in the FA Cup on September 4. Picture by Kieran Cox ()

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ALTON Football Club reached the next round of the FA Vase after winning 4-1 on penalties at Wick on Saturday after their match finished goalless.

Alton were expected to win the game on paper and were clearly the better side over the 90 minutes, but they failed to make their dominance count.

The visitors dominated possession throughout the game but the final ball just wouldn’t drop for them.

The home keeper made four top class saves, the defenders blocked anything that was goalbound and on more than one occasion shots from good positions were scuffed wide of the target.

The second half was particularly one-way traffic, but the home side dug in as the clock ticked down.

Wave after wave of attacks were built on controlled football, and at no stage did Alton resort to throwing hopeful balls into the Wick goalmouth.

Wick enjoyed a rare foray into Alton’s box in the 87th minute, and they were awarded a penalty.

Alton keeper Kieron Greene kept the Brewers in the competition with a superb save as he dived to his left.

With extra time no longer a necessity, the game went straight to penalties.

Greene went on to save two more penalties in the shootout as Alton went through.

Alton then fell to an emphatic 4-0 defeat at East Cowes Victoria in the Wessex League Cup on Tuesday night.

The visitors started brightly on the Isle of Wight and were on top in the first 25 minutes without creating a clearcut goalscoring opportunity.

The home side grew into the game and started to take advantage of every loose ball that came their way.

Young Roux Hardcastle in the Alton goal stood up to everything that was thrown at him, including a nasty challenge that earned the guilty party a yellow card.

In the latter stages of the first half Hardcastle made three top class saves before eventually being beaten just seconds before half-time.

Alton huffed and puffed in the second half, but the home side sensed an opportunity and their energy and enthusiasm suffocated the visitors.

The second goal came in the 65th minute, via a free header from a corner. The goal sucked the life and will out of the visitors and ended the contest.

Two more goals in the latter stages reflected the home side’s dominance and threat during the second half.

Cancelled ferries and closed roads on the journey home summed up the evening for Alton, who returned at 1.30am.

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