Luke’s blast is enough to see off spirited Hallen

Luke Hopper blasts home his winner

Luke Hopper blasts home his winner

First published in Sport Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

DAVE Webb was relieved to see his Swindon Supermarine side avoid an FA Cup banana skin after they were pushed all the way for a place in the first qualifying round by Hallen.

An early strike from Luke Hopper got Marine off the mark at the Webb’s Wood on Saturday but the Western League visitors roared back to hand Webb’s men a stern examination of their cup credentials. But they held on to claim a 1-0 preliminary round victory.

Marine will go looking to avenge last month’s 6-1 league drubbing at the hands of AFC Totton when they return to the Testwood Stadium in the next round on September 13. But Webb doesn’t expect that trip to conjure up feelings of dread for his players.

“Things didn’t go well there. We know they’re a good side but we want to concentrate on how poor we were, not how good they were,” said the Webb’s Wood chief.

“We got ourselves through, got ourselves a clean sheet and made it back-to-back wins, so if you look at it that way, that’s quite good.

“But I know that we weren’t at our best. We wanted to start well and dominate the game and for the first 20 minutes, I thought we did that.

“Josh Morse hit a hell of a shot that cracked the post and then Luke Hopper deftly turned in the box and hit one into the top corner – that was with only about six minutes gone.

“But we never managed to push on and get that second goal from there and I think that spurred them on. They started off with a pretty adventurous formation but changed it and then started getting everyone behind the ball and trying to catch us on the counter.

“There were upsets in other games – I know that North Leigh lost to a Hellenic side – and we didn’t want to be one of them.”

Webb also heaped praise on goalkeeper Sam Warrell, who pulled off some important stops to preserve the hosts’ lead.

The Marine manager said: “I’m pleased for Sam because he’s conceded a lot of goals recently and it hasn’t always been his fault.

“(Hallen) had two really good chances but Sam made some important saves and showed his class and quality.”

With Hopper’s early goal enough to seal Marine’s progress, the home side’s best chance to increase their lead came when the ball fell to substitute Aaron Ferris but the midfielder could only fire into the arms of the Hallen keeper.

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