FA VASE: Walsall Wood penalty shoot-out should have been prevented, says Newark FC joint-manager
A dramatic penalty shoot-out ended in defeat for Newark FC as Walsall Wood progressed into the fourth round of the FA Vase.
Newark took the lead in the all-Midlands Football League Premier Division cup clash when Ben Hutchinson intercepted a shot from his strike partner Craig Westcarr, as the former flicked the ball home after 24 minutes.
But, moments before half-time, Walsall equalised through Sam Fitzgerald’s driven shot from the edge of the box, which cutely found the corner of Jason White’s goal.
A second half of missed chances followed, before what seemed to be an inevitable penalty shoot-out.
Despite seven scorers, Newark fell short losing 8-7 — which left joint-manager Craig Roche pointing towards a lacklustre display in front of goal during the 90 minutes.
He said: “As the minutes went on, we knew it would be decided by the closest of margins.
“We were pleased with the fact that we were able to dominate the majority of the game, both in the first and the second half.
“In the first half we had countless good opportunities and, at the end of the day, that is where we let ourselves down.
“We should have put it to bed rather than letting it go to the lottery of penalties, and ultimately we paid the price for it.
“You can never be 100% confident when it goes to penalties. You need that bit of luck because it’s down to the keeper going the right way and the players holding their nerve, but we let ourselves down by letting it get that far.”
The Highwaymen introduced new signing Riece Bertram, from Ilkeston Town, into the starting line-up for the national cup tie.
Roche said the defensive midfielder enjoyed a positive debut.
“We have had our eye on him for a couple of years,” he said.
“He has chosen other avenues in the past but he made himself available.
“We’ve got a couple of injuries and we will have a busy period coming up, so it is good to get him on board.
“He is a big, strong lad and will help the likes of Danny Meadows to have a bit more freedom.
“He helps make our core stronger and he makes us a bit more physical. It is a tough and physical league and we are at the time of year now where the pitches aren’t great.”
Newark's fixture against Selston (December 26) and Long Eaton United (December 29) have been postponed.