Hartley Wintney bowed out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle after losing out to Walton Casuals by the odd goal in three. The Row put in a rousing finish to the match but came up just short of earning a replay.

The Stags had the first chance on four minutes from a free kick on the right. Mitchail Gough delivered but the ball went over the home forwards. Two minutes later Hartley could have gone ahead. Tom Bird created space on the left and his low cross across the six yard box somehow eluded three inrushing Row players.

Walton held a slight edge in midfield where space was at a premium. On 21 minutes a bit of quality came to the fore from the Casuals. A long cross from James O’Halloran on the left found Daniel Rowe and after showing good control fired just over the crossbar.

Around the half hour mark Hartley had a good spell. A good build up on 34 minutes created a chance for Bird who saw his effort saved by Leighton Fanshawe in the home goal. A minute later the Row had a good chance to open the scoring. Khalid Simmo managed to get behind the Stags defence and his parting low shot was just kept out by a combination of Fanshawe and the post. Hartley continued to press and a long throw from Jacques Kpohomough bounced in the area before Kingsley Eshun headed over the bar.

Three minutes from half time Eshun managed to get free coming in from the left but his shot went into the side netting. Eshun went down injured but resumed and carried on until shortly after half time. The Stags finished the half well and Adam Liddle created a chance for Bradley Keetch who saw his effort from 12 yards bring out a good save from Luke Williams in the Hartley goal. Liddle was again involved in added time when he set up Rowe with a clear run in on goal. However Williams came out and blocked the shot


The scores were level when the half-time whistle was blown.

Dean Stow and Ryan Case were early substitutes on for the second period replacing Eshun and George Sheridan who had picked up knocks.

Three minutes into the second period and the opening goal arrived. Rowe managed to get free down the right and his low cross was turned in by Adam Liddle from close range.

On 55 minutes the Casuals almost doubled their lead. An audacious long shot from Rowe in midfield went narrowly over the crossbar. A minute later Sam Shaw had a chance for the Row after a long run through midfield. However the parting effort went wide. The Stags extended their lead on 57 minutes. Rowe created space on the right and his low cross was turned in by Zidan Akers. 2-0.

Hartley pushed forward and started to create chances. Dean Stow created a chance for Jordan Edwards on 61 minutes who saw his shot bring out a good save from Fanshawe.

A minute later Rodhell Gordon sent in a good cross from the left for the Stags and Liddle headed wide. A lot of the Row play was around the Casuals penalty area with neat intricate passing but not finished with an attempt on goal. A long ball from the Casuals defence found Liddle in the clear but the striker shot wide.

On 72 minutes Khalid Simmo and Edwards combined well and the latter’s parting shot was saved by the well positioned Fanshaw. The Row continued to press and were rewarded on 76 minutes. Josh Webb found space on the left and his centre was headed in by Dean Stow.

Hartley attacked non stop for the remainder of the game and put in a rousing finale. On 85 minutes they came close to equalising. Toby Raggett got free inside the penalty area and his shot was partially saved by Fanshawe. The ball spun loose and Stow tried to force it over the line. Fanshawe managed to recover and got both hands on the ball amidst an amazing scramble. The result was a melee between many players of both sides. The end result was four players received a yellow card and strangely a goal kick awarded. Into added time and Simmo and Edwards combined well at the end of a good move with the latter’s shot going over the bar.

It was not to be Hartley’s day and it is the Stags who progress into the next round.