Fareham Town defender Archie Willcox quickly redeems himself at Cowes after goalkeeper Jon Webb is denied chance to take penalty despite FA Vase shoot-out heroics

Centre-half Archie Willcox went from villain to hero for Fareham Town as his second half stoppage-time goal ensured they came away from Cowes Sports with a point.

By Lewis Mason
Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 2:39 pm
Fareham Town defender Archie Willcox netted a late leveller at Cowes. Picture: Keith Woodland (051220-546)
Fareham Town defender Archie Willcox netted a late leveller at Cowes. Picture: Keith Woodland (051220-546)

Willcox failed to convert from the penalty spot with time running out, only to head home from the resulting corner to salvage a 2-2 draw for the visiting Reds on the Isle of Wight.

On an evening packed full of drama, both teams ended the match with 10-men with Fareham' s MacKenzie Hill shown a straight red card mid-way through the second half, while the hosts also had a player dismissed for an earlier foul in the same incident.

It all came after Fareham had gone ahead through Calum Benfield's strike before quickly being pegged back.

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But manager Pete Stiles explained he denied his stopper the chance to take the late penalty at Cowes, instead letting Willcox step up, after Webb had taken an earlier knock to the head.

The Reds boss said: ‘It’s a positive we came out with something, but Archie missed a penalty so it could have been 2-2 then, the resulting corner he’s headed in the equaliser.

‘Jon Webb (goalkeeper) wanted to take it but he’d taken a bit of a smack and we were carefully monitoring him because he’d had a bash in the head and we didn’t really know what he was going to be like.

‘Archie picked the ball up because neither Ethan Jones or Curt Robbins were playing, he’s grabbed up, unfortunately missed but it’s gone out for a corner and headed it in so he’s redeemed himself.

‘It was certainly a night of drama. They get behind their team so there was a bit of flak over there.

‘It’s one of them, you’re disappointed at the time, but you wake up in the morning and think, ‘well, we didn’t get beat,’ but it is two points dropped.’

An action-packed evening began with Benfield firing the visitors in front after 23 minutes with Cowes levelling through Darren Williams a matter of minutes later.

There was a contentious moment with the scores still level in the second half as Stiles felt his man Hill was harshly dismissed for a tackle, with the referee then handing a hosts' player a second yellow card for an earlier infringement as both teams went down to 10-men.

Ji Nash's swivel and shot in the area put Cowes ahead for the first time, but there was still plenty of drama to come.

Willcox missed from the spot on 90 minutes and it appeared as though Fareham would come away with nothing.

However, the defender then headed home the resulting corner to at least salvage a point for Stiles' men. But the Fareham boss was enraged with the straight red card Hill received.

He said: ‘What I put out (team) should have been good enough (to win at Cowes). I think we were a little bit lacklustre and everything we seemed to hit was at the goalkeeper, although I think their goalkeeper played well.

‘What I’m enraged about was the sending off of my player (MacKenzie Hill), it was just ridiculous. I cannot understand - I didn’t even think it was a foul let alone a red.’