23rd October, 2021. Recent results, including the excellent demolition of Fleet Town, had boosted Raynes Park Vale's confidence in the run up to this FA Vase encounter with CCL Prem league rivals Redhill, themselves no strangers to walking away with all three points. But cup games have a habit of providing upsets so fans at Grand Drive turned up with an air of expectation.
Redhill have a decent history in this competition and Vale were right to respect their opposition.
Unleashed a wonder-pass
Playing down the slope in the first half Vale laid out their intentions early with some strong attacking play that saw the ball being picked up just inside the Vale half by Jordan Gallagher on 10 minutes. A superb dummy run from Nes Bellikli drew his Redhill marker out of position leaving that man Gallagher to wrong-foot his own Redhill defender in midfield and cut inside to unleash a wonder-pass diagonally across field that found Brad Sweeney, cleverly watching to stay on-side in his run on the opposite wing, just inside the Redhill area. Sweeney slotted low past the on-rushing Redhill keeper Jack Minchin and Vale had undone a determined Redhill defence with an end-to-end move that took just seconds to complete.
Raynes Park continued to control the game with Jordan Gallagher continually threatening the Redhill goal.
The referee showed him the red card
After the break Redhill brought on their new signing, centre-forward Billy Murphy to inject some urgency into their game and moved Noe Vendrells out to the right and the visitors' game briefly started to come to life but without mounting a serious threat to a Vale side that looked to be growing in confidence with Jordan Gallagher still causing Redhill some issues including a shot that ricocheted off the bar on 69 minutes. However, an incident in the Vale box seemed to lead to some unseemly words from the Redhill substitute and, on 72 minutes, Murphy's game was over as he marched off the pitch with the referee showing him the red card.
Whether it was a rocket from the bench or a sense of injustice for the dismissal Redhill started to perform better with ten men and forced Vale to put in a defensive performance to keep the Lobsters out.
On 82 minutes Nes Bellikli came off injured to be replaced by Louie Stanton-Cockle and with the 90 minutes up and the Redhill keeper deep in the Vale box looking to boost the visitors height as they took a corner from the right the ball was headed out to just inside the Vale half where, despite a clear foul from a flailing Redhill defender, it was met by the outrushing Vale defence and played into the path of Callum Davies who had come on for Brad Sweeney on 71 mins. With Redhill players desperately chasing and the visiting keeper nowhere to be seen Davies took the ball as close as he dared without being felled and slotted the ball into the empty net at the clubhouse end.
Result reflected that dominance
A round of unseemly and unnecessary handbags in the dying moments of the game capped off a well-deserved win for Vale. Redhill fought hard once their numbers had been reduced but Raynes Park were in control for almost the full game and the final result reflected that dominance.
Raynes Park Vale 2-0 Redhill
MOTM: Cal Hope