STOWMARKET Town’s dream of becoming the first Suffolk side to win the Buildbase FA Vase is over.
The Suffolk, who were the bookies’ favourites this season, side lost 2-0 away to fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Wroxham on Saturday.
Wroxham were the better side in the opening 45 minutes before a bumper crowd of 1,041 inside Trafford Park – the biggest of the day among the eight Fifth Round Proper ties.
However, Stowmarket got on top in the opening 20 minutes of the second period before falling behind against the run of play.
The visitors’ centre back Tom Bullard was sent off for a second yellow card in the 65th minute, with former Norwich City striker Grant Holt scoring from the resulting penalty to break the deadlock.
Substitutes Matt Blake and Dom Doherty both hit the post for Stowmarket in the closing stages, before Wroxham broke away in the fifth and final minute of injury time for Shaun Taylor to add a second.
Stowmarket assistant manager Paul Musgrove admitted: “It was probably our poorest first half we have put in this season, whether or not that was the occasion or their good tactics, but we were lucky to go in at nil-nil, in my opinion.
“We put right a few things right at half-time tactically and got people closer to people and then we came out in the first 20 minutes and I thought we were good and started to exploit little pockets of space.
“We had a few shots – their keeper made a good save from Dean Bowditch – and then came the sucker-punch where one ball and Bully (Tom Bullard) has made a last-ditch tackle and that was his second yellow and that changed the game.”
Of the two shots that struck the post, Musgrove said: “I suppose that’s when you know that it is not really going to be your day. They were very good chances and would have put us on the front foot again
“It wasn’t meant to be and fair play to Wroxham. Tactically they were very good and countered us well.”
No Suffolk side has ever won the FA Vase despite Sudbury Town (1989), AFC Sudbury (2003, 2004 & 2005) and Lowestoft Town (2008) all reaching the final.
Leiston (2011) and Hadleigh United (2013) both reached the quarter-finals, but despite their best-ever run in this season’s, Stowmarket were unable to match their feat of reaching the last eight.
Stowmarket, who remain undefeated in the Premier Division, return to league action on Tuesday night with a home match versus FC Clacton followed by a return to Trafford Park to face Wroxham again on Saturday.