The Non-League Football Paper - - FA VASE QUARTER FINALS - By Andy Mitchell

BRAINBOX match­win­ner Ekow El­liott prob­a­bly spent the jour­ney home bend­ing the ear of his Thatcham Town col­leagues – but boss Danny Robin­son did not mind one bit.

The winger, cur­rently in the throes of com­plet­ing a masters de­gree at Bournemouth Uni­ver­sity, fired the Kingfishers into the FA Vase semi-fi­nals as the clock struck 90 to set­tle this nip-and-tuck tie at Melk­sham.

El­liott was af­forded the space to step into Lewis Brown­hill’s throw-in be­fore fizzing low across goal to send a healthy away fol­low­ing into rap­tures.

Robin­son con­ceded he would be hear­ing about it all the way back to Berk­shire but could not bring him­self to dampen the exPoole Town star’s spir­its.

“Ekow is a very in­tel­lec­tual lad,” said Robin­son.

“I have known him for years, he is very clever but very gobby too. I can­not shut him up, though, not af­ter win­ning the game. He can talk as much as he likes this time.

“We had to de­fend like Tro­jans but when we hang in games, we do have that abil­ity to cre­ate a mo­ment of real qual­ity.

“I am lost for words. We are two games away from Wem­b­ley and I have never said that in my man­age­rial ca­reer be­fore. “We will en­joy it and dream about it but now, it is back to train­ing to get ready for Burn­ham in the league on Sat­ur­day.” Melk­sham had the bet­ter of the few chances prior to the goal, par­tic­u­larly in the first half when Gary Hig­don had a dou­ble ef­fort blocked by keeper Chris Rack­ley and then Har­ri­son Bayley. Rack­ley saved from Mike Per­rott af­ter the break, while Thatcham’s Shane Coop­erClark’s free-kick was de­flected onto the roof of the net. The away side built late mo­men­tum but had cre­ated few clear open­ings be­fore El­liott struck. “I am gut­ted for the boys,” said Melk­sham boss Kieran Baggs. “You are go­ing to get fine mar­gins at this stage of the com­pe­ti­tion and good luck to Thatcham. “The missed chances came back to bite us a lit­tle bit. We couldn’t take a chance and a tiny lapse in con­cen­tra­tion at the death cost us.”

PIC: Garry Grif­fiths

THAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT: Thatcham jump for joy at the fi­nal whis­tle and are just one round from Wem­b­ley

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