‘I’ll always back myself to score’ – goalkeeper Jon Webb is Fareham’s FA Vase penalty shoot-out hero in famous win over much-fancied Jersey Bulls
Jon Webb maintained his impressive penalty shoot-out record as Fareham Town knocked one of the FA Vase favourites out amid Cams Alders drama.
The Reds goalkeeper saved two Jersey Bulls spot-kicks and converted his side’s fifth as the Wessex Premier club won 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 first round draw.
It was a rare loss for Bulls, who have won 37, drawn one and lost just one of their 39 Combined Counties League games since the start of 2019/20.
Webb, however, wasn’t one of Fareham boss Pete Stiles’ pre-match designated penalty takers. Though the squad practised spot-kicks in training last Thursday, Webb wasn’t there due to work commitments.
But he has a fine shoot-out record, boasting a 100 per cent scoring record - ‘I must have taken four or five’ - and a reasonable saving record.
Webb once scored the winning penalty when Brockenhurst defeated Hamworthy to lift the Bournemouth FA Senior Cup. He did the same last season when Brock knocked Cowes out of the Wessex League Cup.
‘I’ll always back myself to score from 12 yards,’ he told The News. ‘It’s a case of deciding what you’re going to do and sticking with it. I’ll always back myself to save at least one as well.
‘I asked the linesman how long left during the game and he said ‘five minutes’ - I decided then I would stick my hand up to take a penalty.
‘I’d decided before the game had finished that I would go to the keeper’s left, my right - thankfully I sent him the wrong way.
‘Fair play to the lads who stepped up - it takes bottle in a big game like that.’
The shoot-out had begun badly for Fareham, with Ethan Jones - the team’s regular spot-kick taker - seeing his effort saved.
Curt Robbins, Ben Rowthorne and Archie Willcox made it 3-3 before Webb produced his first save, beating out Jack Prince’s effort.
Webb then converted Fareham’s fifth penalty before saving again from Calvin Weir to spark great scenes at Cams Alders - some of the best celebratory ones seen at the ground for many years.
‘Ethan’s our normal penalty-taker and Curt used to take them,’ said Stiles. ‘I wasn’t worried about them. Archie Wilcox thinks he can do everything, so he was going to take one! Ben Rowthorne had taken a few bad ones at training but he was confident and you have to go with the players who are confident.
‘Jon Webb was confident - he said ‘I never miss!’ when I asked him.’
Webb was following on from US Portsmouth keeper Tom Price’s Vase heroics en route to the semi-finals last season.
Price scored in shoot-outs against Christchurch and Binfield - as well as the Wessex League Cup semi-final with Bemerton - and saved penalties in all three games too.
Webb was only playing in his second game for Fareham, having made his debut in a Wessex League Cup win against Horndean the previous Tuesday.
He had been playing in the Hampshire Premier League for Colden Common but answered an SOS from Stiles - who he knows from their days together at AFC Portchester - when Dan Kempson suffered a shoulder injury last weekend.
‘I was buzzing all last night,’ said Webb. ‘I woke up this morning and I was still buzzing. ‘There were a lot of people there, and you want to play in that sort of atmosphere.’