With four wins on the bounce boasting four clean sheets and sixteen goals it was no surprise that the Staveley team sheet showed no changes to the starting eleven for this Fa Cup First Qualifying round tie.
Since debuting in the World’s oldest cup competition in 1997/98 the Trojans have only progressed past this stage on only three occasions. (Last time being 2011/12)
Of course football is much more than a numbers game but that 7% ratio gives you some idea of the odds that were stacked against the Trojans even more so when the draw reduced their chances still further by pitting them against the highest ranked side in the competition at this stage, some two divisions higher and one who have lofty ambitions of climbing higher still in Basford United.
The pregame chit chat amongst the fans was one of belief, give it a go to see what happens and of hope that some of the fa Cup magic might just come our way, but they were realistic and knew that we would need some luck if we were to pull of an cup upset….
That slice of luck didn’t take long to arrive as after surviving an early scare when Nat Watson (brother of former Trojan Kieren) fired a shot across goal but wide, the Trojans pressed and won a corner following a smart save from home stopper Kieran Preston pushing out Lim Greenfields drive for a corner…that was swung in dangerously landing just beyond the far post where it was headed out for another on the other side by Lewis Carr…. A short corner routine which “never work” did so working a shooting opportunity for Matty Davies and his fierce effort was, according to the referee stopped by the hands of defender Matt Thornhill, he saw red and Adam Baskerville stuck the resultant penalty kick into the back of the net.
Unfortunately the referee didn’t blow the whistle to signify the end of the match there and then, what with there being eighty five minutes left to play so a goal to the good the Trojans hadn’t quite got the job done yet and for the next ten or fifteen minutes even with ten players it looked like the home side would soon get back into it as the unfamiliarity of the artificial pitch contributed to some defensive wobbles… (them being decent might’ve helped to)
After Jack Thomas had fired over when well placed, Ryan Herbert produced a great recovery tackle to stop another clear shot on goal then a dangerous looking free kick was swung in and just about scrambled away. then Basford went mightily close to finding that equaliser when rightback Liam Bateman swung in a teasing in swinging cross from deep to Nat Watson on the far post where, as he fell he crashed a volley onto the underside of the crossbar but thankfully it bounced the right side of the line as far as the Trojans were concerned…moments later they went closer still when Nat Watson intercepted a backpass and lobbed Myles Wright in the staveley goal and was just about to wheel away in celebration until Chris Baugh produced a brilliant acrobatic overhead kick clearance off the line to keep the lead intact.
The higher placed side were always going to get chances but Staveley with seventy odd minutes still left to play they couldn’t just sit back to defend their lead and didn’t….
Robson Doolan was at his energetic “engine room” best and led several counter attacks the best of which saw him find Jahmal Riley with a clipped pass from the left. Riley took one touch to get it out of his feet then hit a low shot which ‘keeper Kieran Fenton parried into the path of Adam Baskerville who slid in to tap it home only to see Fenton produce a stunning save down to his right to fingertip the ball round the post for a corner which unfortunately came to nothing.
Another Doolan inspired break came in the twenty second minute when he set Adam Baskerville on the chase down the right hand side one he managed to win bringing the overlapping Matty Davies into play, clever movement from Baskerville made Davies job easy and he cut it back to Staveleys striker who didn’t even need to break stride before passing it into the net to send the travelling Trojan army into dreamland.
For the neutrals it was a great game to watch as both sides continued to look for goals with the impressive Greg Tempest on the field for the home side now in a midfield reshuffle spreading the play out to the left hand side which produced a cross and shot which Staveley ‘keeper Myles Wright managed to flick over for a corner. then at the other end Jahmal Rileys powerful run and ball across the six yard box saw Adam Baskerville millimetres away from getting the touch it needed, and another of those short corner routines saw Sam Finlaw go close in hitting the side netting… there were no more goals before the break but considering all the good chances and when you throw in the deflected Greg Tempest shot which could’ve gone anywhere and a Liam greenfield effort from a right wing position which saw a backpedalling Kieran Fenton just get a hand to it and Adam Baskervilles fierce drive which flew wide of the post. The score really could’ve been 10-10.
Half Time Basford united 0 – 2 Staveley MW
The second half pretty much carried on where the first left off with Myles Wright having to be at his brilliant best to keep out the home side but he could do nothing about Zayn Hakeems effort to finish off a move with a curling effort passed straight into the bottom left hand corner on sixty eight minutes… to set up what would’ve been nervous last twenty minutes had it not been for Sam Finlaws run from the half way line and sublime cross into the box which met the head of Liam Greenfield to restore the two goal advantage.
Basford pressed on and yes you’ve guessed it squandered a few more chances but their challenge was nullified when they were reduced to nine men following another red card, this time Nat Watson took the long walk back to the changing rooms for an off the ball incident…so Staveley had ten minutes with which to enjoy themselves, savour the moment and nearly added a fourth in the dying moments when Matty Parkins cross was fired at goal by Adam Baskerville only for Kieran Preston to deny him with yet another excellent save.
FT: Basford United 1 – 3 Staveley MW
We now wait to see who our opponents will be in the second Qualifying Round – a stage we’ve only reached on three other occasions, keep tuned in to find out who when the draw is made during the coming week.
Highlights courtesy of Basford United