Monday, 23 May 2016

Basford United 2 v Clipstone 2 AET - Basford won on penalties - Notts Senior Cup Final

Monday 23rd May 2016
Notts FA Senior Cup Final
at Coronation Park, Eastwood Community Football Club
Basford United 2
Rob Darkin 90+3, 96
Clipstone 2
Andrew Fox 44, Somes 118
45 minutes 0-1 90 minutes 1-1
105 minutes 2-1 120 minutes 2-2
Basford won 3-2 in penalty shoot out
Admission £5 inc. programme. Attendance 230
Basford United:
Deeney, Darkin, Bennett, Grayson (Griffiths Junior 81), Rowley, Meikle, Hollis (Bopp 68), Smith (Hendrie 68), Wiggins-Thomas, Grantham, Dixon.
Unused subs - J Duffy, Fogg.
Francis, Royles, Randle, Salt, Magee, Ashmore (c), Wall (Holmes 83), Finlaw, Ryan (Somes 87), Fox, Walker (Dacre 90)
Unused sub - Littlejohn
A monsoon descended over Mansfield on Tuesday 10th May, when approximately six months worth of precipitation fell from the skies in the space of just a couple of hours during the afternoon, that rendered the original cup final pitch at the Stags One Call Stadium/Field Mill completely unplayable.
Mansfield Town's pitch renewal for next season is now well underway, meaning the Notts FA needed to find an alternative ground for tonight's re-arranged cup final; and Coronation Park, with it's brand new artificial surface, that has only been laid this last week, got the thumbs up.
A repeat of last years final, which Basford had won 5-3, was ultimately decided via the lottery of a penalty shoot out, which went the way of the Nottingham based side, while Clipstone now know how Ollerton Town must've felt when they knocked them out of the competition by virtue of spot kicks at the outset of their cup run.
A crowd of 230 were treated to an uptempo and fast paced game (in which the new surface at Eastwood more than played it's part), that had more twists and turns along the way than the 'Wild Mouse', big dipper ride at Skeggy Fair.
Andy Francis deputised in goal for Clipstone, in the absence of Steve Hernandez, who had been involved in a road traffic accident yesterday; while Damo Magee made his first start for three months in the Cobras defence, having been unavailable due to injury.
Magee is one player who is guaranteed to put in 100% effort and commitment for the cause, but it was evident, that once the game went into extra time, he was running on empty and will definitely be feeling a few aches and pains tomorrow morning as a consequence.
Clipstone were billed ass the underdogs against their Evo-Stik League opponents, but were more than a match for Martin Carruthers side in the opening forty five minutes and though Basford created a couple of good opportunities, most notably for Ash Grayson and Jermain Hollis, neither of whom could keep their efforts on target, although Grayson did hit the foot of the post with a header from Fabian Smith's free kick; the Cobras had the better of things in front of goal, with Oli Ryan turning Sam Finlaw's cross over the bar, while Nicky Walker flashed a shot narrowly wide of the upright from Ellis Wall's pass.
Clipstone opened the scoring on 44 minutes, with a move that started in their own half with Chris Salt on the right hand side of midfield, who switched flanks with a great knock to Luke Randle on the left flank and he fed the ball forward to Walker, who in turn delivered a pinpoint cross to Andrew Fox inside United's six yard box and he nudged the ball past Saul Deeney and Billy Bennett, the latter of who scooped the ball back into play, after it had already crossed the line, as was confirmed by the referee's assistant Kenwyn Hughes, who was well placed, level with the incident... as you'd expect from the Notts FA Referee of the Year.
Having deservedly taken the lead, the Cobras almost scored again when Oli Ryan played a sideways pass to Ellis Wall, who thumping drive deflected back towards Ryan, but the angles were all wrong for him and he put the ball high and wide of the goal.
HT: Basford United 0 v Clipstone 1
Deeney did well to get both hands behind Sam Finlaw's shot and turn it away, but as the second half unfolded, although 'Clipo' always looked good on the counter attack, Basford were beginning to get to grips inside the opposition's half and put together Smith, Hollis and Kyle Dixon all adopted a 'shoot on sight' policy, as the traffic around Clipstone's goal area began to get really busy, Chris Salt cleared from Ruben Wiggins Thomas with a saving tackle and Dixon saw his goal bound effort deflected around the post.
Curiously, or so it seemed to me, whenever Clipstone broke forward, they seemed intent on playing sideways passes in front of the Basford goal, when peppering Deeney with first time shots might have reaped greater rewards. That's an observation, not a criticism.
That said, Ryan had a shot saved and Dion Meikle denied Ellis Wall the opportunity to give his side a two goal cushion, with a timely block. While Finlaw tested Deeney with a free kick from a well rehearsed routine with James Ashmore.
Meikle was also on hand to thwart Walker, as the ball reached him in the Basford area via Finlaw and Wall.
Stuart Hendrie had two opportunities to pull Basford level, but Francis and Magee took turns to keep him at bay.
Clipstone had run themselves into the ground and late in the day, Billy Fox introduced Brad Holmes, Adam Somes and Josh Dacre to provide some fresh legs and impetus to see the game out.
But deep into stoppage time, Anthony Griffiths Junior edged the ball across Clipstone's six yard box and Rob Darkin forced a late equaliser over the line from close range. Some of the Cobras players appealed and claimed that there had been a handball in the build up, but the referee Declan Bourne thought otherwise... and having already completed a grueling shift, both sides were now going to have to put in an extra 30 minutes overtime.
90+3 minutes: Basford United 1 v Clipstone 1
Six minutes into extra time, Darkin struck again, stooping to nod the ball past Francis from a corner.
Chris Salt came close to leveling things up at the other end and that man Darkin was on hand again to block a shot from Brad Holmes... but then Clipstone were forced to defend with all their might against a string of openings from the Evo-Stik League side.
Ruben Wiggins-Thomas saw his shot dip over the goal as Magee got in a blocking tackle and was a whisker away from connecting with a great cross from Courey Grantham. And then Eugen Bopp slashed a shot narrowly wide and forced a save out of Francis just moments later.
Clipstone had been unfortunate to concede an equaliser in stoppage time, but they gave Basford a spoonful of their own medicine inside the last two minutes of extra time, when Somes latched onto a great pass from Holmes and slotted the ball past Deeney from ten yards out, with an assured calmness that belied the timing and urgency of the situation.
AET: 2-2
So the game went to penalties, with Clipstone kicking first.
Deeney saved two of Clipstone's from Royles and Somes and Ashmore struck the woodwork with his kick, while Fox and Salt both converted from the spot for the Cobras.
Kyle Dixon, Eugen Bopp and Deon Meikle all netted for Basford United, Griffiths Junior missed his go and there was no need for a fifth Basford kick because Clipstone had only scored two from their five attempts.
Basford United won 3-2 on penalties AET.
An absorbing game, befitting of a cup final, in which both teams shared the starring role.
Congratulations and well done Basford and well done to Clipstone too, you were bloody unlucky tonight.
From my neutral vantage point, I would also have to say that the match officials: Declan Bourne, Kenwyn Hughes and Scott Mason (plus fourth official Andrew Dallison) all contributed greatly to tonight's entertainment and the pitch at Eastwood Community Football Club was excellent.
It was great to catch up with so many stalwarts of the local non-league scene tonight whose first rate company made for a great night too.