Matty gets a Hall pass as defender goes from villain to penalty shootout hero

Matt Hall
Matt Hall
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Aylesbury FC’s Matty Hall was the man in the spotlight in this Berks & Bucks Senior Cup tie played at Marlow’s picturesque Alfred Davis Memorial Ground on Tuesday night.

Hall, the brother of Bolton Wanderers and former West Ham forward Rob, was involved in the mix up which led to Marlow’s 93rd minute equaliser. But the former Thame United full back turned from villain to hero when he fired home the decisive 12th penalty to usher FC into the next round, writes Jools Thomas.

FC were under pressure in the opening few minute of the game. Both keeper Rhys Marshall and new signing Tom Cutts had to be on their guard to prevent Marlow taking the lead. As the half settled down Jerome Federico was finding more space but, apart from one low shot which was easily gathered, he failed to make an impact. Federico next combined with fellow front man Gareth Price as Gareth fed Ollie Hogg in space. Ollie’s strike however failed to trouble the keeper and the chance disappeared. Midway through the first half and FC almost took the lead. Again Price fed Hogg who appeared to only need to make contact to score. Amazingly a defender blocked what was a certain goal and somehow the Marlow goal remained intact. FC were enjoying good possession with Lamar Simpson providing good support to the front men. This did not mean that FC could relax. Liam MacDevitt tested Marshall’s reactions in a one on one situation with Marshall clearing to safety. The same duel a couple of minutes later saw MacDevitt fall in the box under pressure from Marshall. A penalty could quite easily have been awarded however the referee waved Marlow protests away. An attempted Gareth Price chip over home keeper Simon Grant was the last creditable chance for both teams as the first half drew to a close.

MacDevitt was again in the thick of an action as early as the 47th minute. His fizzing cross was cut out by Rhys Marshall but only after a challenge from a Marlow attacker that left Rhys requiring attention. Ben Gladwin was the next to test Marshall with a delicate reverse shot that cleared the keeper but also the post. Gareth Price then attempted to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Firstly he tried a delicate cross shot and soon after a sweet chip but neither could break the deadlock. Gareth had better luck in his contribution towards FC’s opening goal. Advancing on the keeper, he drew his man off the goalline before passing to Kwasi Frimpong who smashed the ball into an empty net. In the next few minutes Ollie Hogg, Matty Hall and Gareth Price for FC and Ben Gladwin for the home team all had long range efforts which failed to dent the scoreline and despite Marlow’s increasing pressure, it appeared that FC with Lee Grant and ex AFC Sudbury man Tom Cutts in good form would be able to see out the game. Three minutes into injury time however Devontae Romeo broke clear and lobbed Rhys Marshall and as Matty Hall rushed to the goal line to clear, Marlow’s Adam Richards stole in to sneak home the equaliser.

This signalled an extra half hour. Substitutions for FC meant the team had an unfamiliar look to it with Alex Kedzierski making only his second FC appearance and George House, a young striker, making his debut. As legs became tired, mistimed tackles and thoughtless challenges threatened to spoil what had been a good game of football in extra time. There were half chances for both teams however as the clock ticked down penalties became more and more of a reality.

FC faced the spotkicks first and Rhys was extremely unlucky not to save the initial penalty. Kwasi, Brian Haule, Ollie Hogg, Tom Cutts and man of the match Lamar Simpson tucked away all their penalties as did their Marlow counterparts. With the sixth penalty, the Marlow striker steamed the ball over the bar and this allowed Matty Hall to redeem himself stroking the ball past Grant and sending FC into the next round with a possible draw against Wycombe or MK Dons.