LITTLEHAMPTON Football Club cruised into the third round of the FA Vase with a 7-3 win at home to Abingdon United in their second-round replay last night.
George Landais and substitute David Herbert both hit braces, with Michael Hendrick, Mitchell Hand and Dan Simmonds also on target for Golds, who will now host Ashford United in the next round on Saturday.
The game kicked off 22 minutes late as Abingdon only arrived at The Sportsfield at around 7.20pm, with the game originally scheduled to start at 7.30pm.
The match got underway after the visitors had gone through a brief warm-up but Golds caught them cold by taking the lead after just two minutes.
Simmonds sent Michael Hendrick away down the left and his cross was met by Landais, whose powerful header was saved by Lee Farrow but Landais followed up to knock the ball home from a yard.
Golds could have doubled their lead on 15 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for handball but Hand’s spot-kick was saved by the legs of Farrow.
The miss did not matter, though, as Littlehampton went 2-0 ahead just three minutes later. Jamie Thompson drove forward from midfield and his low shot was parried by Farrow but Landais followed up to tap home his 16th goal of the season.
Littlehampton got a third on 29 minutes when Michael Hendrick nipped in to beat Farrow, who hesitated, to the ball from Landais’s ball forward.
In the original tie between the sides, Littlehampton had led 3-0 inside the first half, before the hosts fought back and the game went to a replay after a 4-4 draw following extra-time.
Abingdon pulled a goal back four minutes before half-time when Golds keeper Jon Hendrick came flying out to clear a cross but did not get enough on the ball and Kieron Cochrane hooked the loose ball home.
Littlehampton got a fourth in stunning fashion just four minutes into the second half when Hand’s 30-yard free kick dipped and swerved before finding the top corner.
Jon Hendrick got down low to his right to brilliantly deny James Deabill on 55 minutes, before the visitors made it 4-2 just two minutes later when Cochrane tapped home Anaclet Odhiambo’s cross from close range.
Within a minute, Golds had scored again when Simmonds twisted and turned past his marker, before slotting home from six yards.
Abingdon got a goal back just past the hour when a cross from the left found its way to Matty Hardwick, who knocked the ball home from six yards.
Littlehampton made certain of their progress into the next round when they went 6-3 ahead on 74 minutes. Landais went on a great solo run, before finding substitute David Herbert, who was clattered by Farrow as he slotted the ball under the keeper.
Herbert got his second on 81 minutes from Hand’s long ball over the Abingdon defence, before he limped off moments afterwards.
Golds boss Mark Bennett said: “We’ve always struggled in the past to beat teams that bully us, which is what they tried to do tonight, but luckily we’re through to the next round.
“I wasn’t really that pleased with the performance but the result was pleasing.
“We created a lot of chances again and all the time you do that, you have a chance but we didn’t defend well.
“I don’t think the delayed kick-off helped either team. We went out and then we had to go back in but you’ve just got to take it on the chin.”
On the tie with Ashford United, Bennett said: “They beat Hassocks 7-0, so we know it will be a tough game.”
LITTLEHAMPTON: J.Hendrick; Wiggans, McKay, Bates, M.Hand; Kempson, Thompson, Swain, M.Hendrick; Landais, Simmonds. Subs: Herbert (Kempson 60), Gray (Herbert 81), Kew (Simmonds 85), Gaskin, Garnham.