Wisbech Town should hold their heads high despite painful FA Vase quarter-final defeat at Sholing

Wisbech Town's Paul Cousins and Stuart Cobb at the final whistle. Picture: Ian Burt

Wisbech Town's Paul Cousins and Stuart Cobb at the final whistle. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

As disappointing as the defeat was on Saturday everybody connected with Wisbech Town should still be proud of their club's FA Vase efforts.

While the Fenmen will assess today's semi-final draw with a heavy heart, they should do so with their heads held high. A 1-0 defeat in a last-eight tie is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is a fantastic display in defeat.

On and off the pitch at the weekend the Cambridgeshire outfit did themselves proud. The best part of 200 supporters made the 360-mile round trip to Southampton to cheer their heroes on. Those fans behaved impeccably and there was not even the remotest sniff of the trouble that marred Wisbech's high-profile Vase exit in 1986 that made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

But it was those men on the field of play, and the joint boss in the dugout, that should be rightly lauded most for a showing that offered absolutely everything you would want – apart from that little bit of luck and smidgen of cutting edge.

Dick Creasey is a popular figure and wears his heart on his sleeve. His managerial colleague, Paul Cousins, once again did his talking when he crossed the white line at the heart of Town's back four. While the defender was outpaced for the only goal of the game, he wasn't given much chance after being left one-on-one with a pacy 22-year-old, the centre-back barely missed a trick.

Across the pitch there were men in the changed shirts of yellow and green that gave absolutely everything. Steven Reid and Danny White in particular stood out for their tireless endeavour. And in team-mate Callum Reed they had a man possessing the talent to be a match-winner - if only fortune had allowed him to be.

Wisbech struggled to create any genuine chances all afternoon, something they can be criticised for, but much of that was down to Sholing's terrific defending. They sat deep and soaked up the countless crosses or forays into the box that came their way, especially after the break.

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So Reed took it upon himself to try and keep Wisbech's Wembley dream alive any way he could. In the first half he smashed a shot goalwards which rebounded off the bar and after the break he rifled an even better attempt into the base of the post. On another day one or both would have still somehow ended up in the net.

As it was, Lee Wort's 29th-minute strike, as he left Cousins for dust after capitalising on a high line, was the difference. He got a clear sight of goal, rounded keeper Carl Mackney, and sent his team into the last four.

The visitors never got such an opportunity. But it wasn't through the want of trying and it's why those heartbroken supporters should not stay too downbeat for long - even if their players failed to win on the road for the fifth time in this term's competition and prolong hopes of a big day out in the capital.

- To read a match report from Saturday's game, and see more pictures, click here.

- To see part of the post-match interview with Creasey, click here.