Saturday, 31 March 2012

Staveley Miners Welfare 2 v Dunston UTS 2 - FA Vase Semi Final 2nd Leg

Saturday 31st March 2012, at Inkersall Road
FA Vase Semi Final 2nd Leg
Staveley Miners Welfare (2) 2
Simon Barraclough 7, Chris Coy 37
Dunston UTS (1) 2
Andrew Bulford 16, Stephen Goddard 84
Dunston UTS win 3-2 on aggregate
Admission £5, Programme £1.50,
Attendance 1050
Sent off: Andrew Bulford 30, Simon Barraclough 71
With a little over five minutes to go and extra time looming large, Stephen Goddard crashed the ball home off the underside of the crossbar, to shatter Staveley's FA Vase dreams and set up an all Northern League final, of Dunston UTS v West Auckland at Wembley Stadium, on Sunday 13th May.
The game finished 10 a side, with both teams number 10's (both goalscorers on the day as it happens) getting sent off along the way.
Andrew Bulford got his marching orders for a foul after 30 minutes (he had already incurred the wrath of the referee for over celebrating his 16th minute goal with some boisterous, pitch invading, members of the crowd) and Simon Barraclough was given a straight red on 71 minutes, for giving Dunston's Kane Young a bloody nose, when he swung his arm into the Dunston number 6's face.
Barraclough isn't usually the sort of player to show any aggression, but today he saw the red mists right in front of the referee.
During the same brief, but frantic spell, of pushing and shoving, Dunston's keeper clearly head-butted an opponent too, but the referee missed that one.
Though I don't see how on earth the referee's assistant, over by the side of the ground where I was sitting, never saw it.
These things balance themselves over the course of a season n' all that.
A large crowd turned up at the rapidly developing (blink and you'll miss the next phase) Inkersall Road ground.
By 1.30pm there were already traffic jams building up and the bar was doing a brisk trade.
The majority of Dunston followers were in north Derbyshire to enjoy their day out and cheer their team on, but even on the approach to the ground, it was evident that a rowdy bandwagon jumping element from the north east were in town too, who were intent on getting drunk, bad mouthing and antagonising the locals and generally behaving in a way not usually associated with Non League football.
But, it would be wrong to single out Dunston or the north east in general, for criticism to this end, because virtually every club, at all levels of the football pyramid, has to suffer a number of fools like this when they have a big day out.
For example, the worse violence I've ever witnessed at Wembley Stadium, was in the car park prior to the 1982 FA Vase Final between Forest Green Rovers and Rainworth Miners Welfare. To this day, I still don't know which team the knife wielding mob who were running amok that day were purporting to support, if any!It won't be the first time I've seen their ilk, leaving a stain on the good character of any number of football club's hitherto impeccable reputations, nor sadly, will it be the last, unless I avoid big occasions in future.
I'm loathe to do that though, just because some safety in numbers big gobs, think chucking fireworks and beer glasses about, to celebrate their adopted team for the day's victory, is impressing anybody in any way whatsoever.
If like minded people, from different towns any cities, want to meet up and fight other gangs of a similar persuasion, I'll neither condone or condemn that, but ganging up on innocent fans who aren't interested in violence, or likely to fight back, well ... that's a school bully mentality and cowardice, isn't it!?
Left click SEMI final team sheet to enlarge image ... ignore the slight mistake ;-)

Anyway, enough of all that peripheral nonsense ... there was an important game of football played at Inkersall Road this afternoon, in front of 1000+ spectators.
And that attendance would've been even higher if there wasn't a 6,152 crowd at another match being played just down the road today, at the B2net Stadium, where both Chesterfield and Scunthorpe United were desperate for a win to help them in their fight against relegation from the npower League 1 into the Football League's basement division.
The other local game finished, Chez Vegas 1 v Sunny Scunny 4, if you were wondering.
The afternoon couldn't have started any better for Staveley.
And with just six minutes on the clock, they had cancelled out Dunston's first leg lead, when Simon Barraclough netted with an angled shot across Liam Connell in the Dunston goal.
But within ten minutes, the visitors were back in front on aggregate, when Michael Dixon's hopeful shot was turned into the bottom corner, beyond the reach of Ian Deakin, by Andrew Bulford, who ran away to celebrate with the noisy away fans behind the goal.
Bulford had also scored the only goal in the first leg.
The 'tackles' flew in thick and fast for a while.
It was definitely no place for the faint hearted out on the pitch during the opening exchanges.
Around the half hour mark, the referee pulled Bulford aside for lunging into a heavy tackle and red carded him.
He had already been booked for his goal celebration earlier on. In my humble opinion, the yellow card was a bit harsh, because there wasn't really very much he could do to free himself from the clutches of some of the more exuberant visiting fans, who had come from behind the perimeter fence.
Before the break, it was very much 'advantage Staveley' against the ten men of Dunston, when Andrew Fox's effort from six yards out looked to be going agonisingly wide, but Chris Coy steered the ball home, to make the score 2-1 on the day.
Daniel Craggs and Lee McAndrew, both broke into the box in first half stoppage time, but took too long to decide between them who was going to challenge Staveley's keeper Ian Deakin and Chris Fawcus, who impressed for Staveley at left back all afternoon, cleared the danger.

Half time: Staveley MW 2 v Dunston UTS 1 (Aggregate 2-2)
The longer the second half went on, the more Dunston's confidence seemed to grow.
Everybody present must've been expecting the Blues to go all out and put the visitors under pressure, but for whatever reason, they didn't.
Maybe Staveley got stage fright, given that they were now so close to pushing on and going to Wembley for the first time in the club's history.
Perhaps they were sitting back and waiting to use their numerical advantage by hitting the visitors on the break.
All out attack, getting another goal and forcing Dunston to commit men forward, would have been a much better game plan (granted, we're all wise after the event), but they just seemed to be content to sit back and wait.
And it backfired and worked against them in the end.
Most locals were on the edge of their seats, waiting for Staveley to produce the kind of passing and attacking game they've become renowned for.
Alas, it just didn't happen.
On 71 minutes, the home sides numerical advantage was wiped out too, when Simon Barraclough lashed out and struck Kane Young in the face.
Hence the 10 aside finale to the game.
Andrew Fox looks dejected (foreground)
While Dunston UTS celebrate their 84th minute equaliser/winner (background)

The north Derbyshire side had the ball far more than Dunston in the second half, but were knocking it around and keeping things tight instead of pushing on and going for glory.
It was like watching a cat toying with a mouse, instead of pouncing and putting it out of it's misery.
On 84 minutes Dunston rolled their sleeves up and mustered up one last push forward, before the game went into extra time.
And they made the home side pay with interest, for not taking this semi final tie by the scruff of it's neck earlier in the second half, when they'd had the initiative.
Lee McAndrew, neatly passed the ball forward to Steven Shaw, who ran on and knocked a square ball across the area, right into the path of Stephen Goddard, who was charging, unmarked, into the box.
There was little that Ian Deakin could do to prevent the goal, as Goddard belted the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.
Cue even more noise and celebrations from the already very vocal Dunston fans, who had got behind their team well this afternoon and given them that extra lift towards the final push right at the end.
Traditionally, all good cup ties are watched by a pair of free-loading youngsters,
using a nearby tree as a vantage point. I wonder if it's always the same two kids?

The real Dunston fans were a credit to their club and the north east region today, they celebrated at the final whistle with unrestrained glee.
Good for them, I hope they have a great time at Wembley and that the rent-a-mob 'fans for a day' idiots who were chucking glasses and fireworks about this afternoon, don't ruin their big day out for them.
Fair play to Dunston, they battled right to the end and gave no quarter, you've got to applaud their never say die attitude and say that, though both teams *REALLY* wanted it, ultimately, the visitors showed that desire more today.
That's not a criticism of Staveley MW in anyway, but recognition of Dunston UTS's willingness to bust a gut and find that extra bit of inner determination when it mattered most.
The all Northern League final at Wembley promises to be a cracking game.
And what of Staveley?
If ever anyone in local football (round these here parts, that I consider to be local) deserved a shot at a Wembley final, it's the Inkersall Road club this season and I can't praise highly enough, the input and efforts of the committed team of people who make the club tick behind the scenes, right the way up through the backbone of the football club, from it's grass roots work with youngsters, to the irrepressible man at the top, Chairman Terry Damms (via several unsung heroes in between), who is providing the foundations for a very promising future indeed for Staveley Miners Welfare FC.
But the FA Vase adventure is over for them now and it's time to re-focus on their ambitions to reach the Evo-Stik League ... and of course the NCEL League Cup.
I'm sure they'll be giving both of those targets their best shot.
Good luck in the final Dunston!
Besides me n' my very select group of companions, it would appear that some proper bloggers were also present at the Staveley MW v Dunston UTS game.
For much wordier and far more accurate versions of what really happened, check out the following:

Next up:
Err, would you believe it ... I'm back at Inkersall Road on Monday, for an Under 19's cup match.
It'll probably be much easier to get to the bar then, than it was today.