They say sequels aren’t as good as the original so would this the third instalment of the Trojans “Month of Cup ties” be as good as the previous two?
The cast list for this one showed two changes from what critics have said was the best of the series so far “Cup Tie 2: an epic night out in Basford” Robson Doolan and Chris Baugh took a well earned rest with Matty Parkin and new signing Philip Bilson taking to the field in their stead.
A quick look at Manchester based opponents Maine Roads pregame stats suggested that the Trojans may have to wait till near the end of the match to win the game with the visitors having conceded 53% of their goals against in the final fifteen minutes of matches but as usual stats look good on paper but on grass? Well that’s another thing entirely….
Inside the first thirty seconds Sam Finlaw picked the ball up and pinged a ball over the top of the Maine Road Defence for Jahmal Riley who got in behind David Brown but couldn’t get enough on it to fire past James Downhill in goal who knocked it out for a corner…Maine Road had come to play football and they were able to work that corner from defence into attack and after good work winning several throw-ins down their left they unfortunately for them when in a decentish attacking position threw the ball straight to Ryan Herbert who clear the Staveley lines… an innocuous looking bounce forced defender David Brown into a volleyed backpass which looped over ‘keeper James Downhill now giving him something to deal with rather than a routine punt back up top, and he unfortunately cleared it straight into the path of a closing Jahmal Riley who couldn’t really miss and despite a recovery attempt from Downhill he poked it into the net from close range.
A great start for us, terrible for the visitors but with eighty eight minutes still on the clock the tie was still anybodys to take and they stuck to their beliefs, started to pop it around but didn’t create anything to trouble Myles Wright in the Staveley goal thanks mainly to defensive blocks from Ryan Herbert and a misplaced final pass here and there…that is until the tenth minute when a throw in on the left hand side of their defensive third was recycled across the back for to the right where Sean Mills went central again for Mark German to ping it over to Christy O’Brien in an attacking position back on the left again he found Oisin O’Malley whose first time reverse ball sent Micheal Burke on the chase who appeared to foul Philip Bilson Bilson but it would’ve been a soft freekick to give away so play continued into the box and cut back to Ben Davison who swept in the equaliser….quality goal to be fair to them.
After that it settled into a really good game of football, well certainly in the midfield area of the pitch as both sides played the ball around creating dangerous looking situations with Sm finlaw and Liam greenfield pulling the strings for the Trojans and ben Daison doing likewise for the visitors but without really anything in the way of goal bound efforts until the thirty fourth minute that is, when Adam Baskerville after receiving a headed pass from Matty Parkin played a one two with Jahmal Riley raced onto the back heeled return pass, skipped it past defender Ryan Smith but was fouled in that process and after trying to play the advantage the referee brought it back for the freekick which Liam Greenfield crashed in via the underside of the crossbar.
Again the “football” on show from both sides was a jo to behold at times popping it his way and that and the “next goal” could once again prove to be decisive and Sam Finlaw almost got it following a flick from Adam Baskerville but was thwarted by David Brown as he pulled the trigger likewise Jahmal Riley who was denied by James Downhill as he looked to find the opposite corner with a shot across Maine Roads ‘keeper…but Michael Burke at the other end should have got that all important goal when he got the better of a bounce over the top of Staveleys defence rounded Myles Wright on the edge of his area but was denied by a breathtaking save from Wright who picked himself off the floor, dived backwards to take the ball cleanly at the feet of the visitors leading goal scorer just as he was about to roll it into the empty net.
That proved crucial as Staveley asserted themselves more and more in the second half and after several intricate easy on the eye passing moves that saw the ball flash across goal more than once Brad Jones burst into the box and was taken out but by no means deliberately by Joe O’Brien who was just a bit late with the challenge…Adam Baskerville stuck the resultant penalty over the bar but moments later Basky turned provider slaying it into the path of Jahmal riley who ran from just beyond the halfway line into the box where a side step confused four defenders opening up the gap he needed to slam home the third.
The final half an hour save for one moment around sixty minutes where Ben Davison got a shot away which was saved by Myles Wright after a goal mouth scramble, were all Staveley although Maine Road continued to try and play, to be fair were chasing shadows and some of the attacking play was a joy to behold particularly from its star performer Sam Finlaw.
Only he will know how he didn’t manage to increase the lead on seventy one minutes when after beating several players he burst into the box, and lifted it over the bar when one on one with ‘keeper James Downhill. But nevermind because increase the lead he did five minutes later with a maradonaesque circa 1986 run from the halfway line again past several players before slotting it past a static goalkeeper.
Final score Staveley 4-1 Maine Road
And to answer the question in the first paragraph yes, the sequels have been every bit as good as the original so much so a fourth September cuptie has been commissioned – a big blockbuster second Round qualifying round tie v Guiseley at Home Saturday 22nd September and on recent showings the majority of the 227 packed into Inkersall Road for this one, will not be able to wait that long!