Saturday 13th October 2012
FA Vase First Round Proper
NOSTELL MINERS WELFARE 1 FORMBY 2
Tea Hut Stuff: Zilch today I'm afraid
Weather: Cloudy, late sunshine second half
Parking: Club car park
Firstly, on a day such as 'Non League Day', allow me to moan what a missed opportunity this was for lots and lots of people living in the Wakefield area to witness a bloody good game of cup tie football at a pleasant community stadium. Only 43 souls turned out in total and every one saw an end to end game between two evenly matched sides who played some really good quality football. Nostell MW are located in the village of Crofton just a few miles from Wakefield City Centre and their ground is at the local Community Centre, the modern set up houses a function and leisure profile with the actual stadium at the rear of the complex with a steep banking overlooking the well kept playing surface and tidy surrounding perimeter. Nostell play in the Northern Counties East Leagues Premier Division, they've not had the best of starts this season and sit lower table but the locals seem positive that things will definitely improve. Their visitors in this important FA Vase tie came from the West Coast, Formby is a nice little place just down the road from Southport, rumour has it that a good few Liverpool superstars live in the small town which nestles behind National Trust woodland and stunning coastal scenery. Formby are a Non League level (or step) below Nostell MW, they play in Division One of the North West Counties League and have received some very glowing reports in their climb to the upper reaches of the table. Time to find out what all the fuss is about? I took the Match Shed on the long and winding off-motorway route through West Yorkshire, the M62 is a waste of time as endless speed restricted roadworks continue to hound the motorist, 4 years now and they still can't sort it out? Somebody is doubtless making a lot of cash for multi-triple time diversions, closures and millions of cones. Anyway, I got there in the end but driving through places like Huddersfield and Wakefield on a busy Saturday is not easy going. Good to see the Formby mini bus got there before me. I had a feeling that gourmet cuisine may be slightly limited at the ground so I had a big dinner before I set off, 2 bacon rolls and a large bowl of rustic tomato soup, just as well, the internal community centre kitchen only had burgers and chips on offer. I thought about a cup of tea but the principle of paying a quid for a tea bag doesn't rest easy with me, even at this level, I skipped it. You enter the ground by walking through the community centre main doors and then taking twisting hidden corridors, if you're lucky you find the door to the bowling green and hey-presto you spot the magic match poster leading onto the turnstile.
Apparently an OAP Thackley season ticket holder entered the building for an away game here and has been missing for over 3 years now. Its even more confusing trying to leave after the game when some of the doors are closed, its a maze of random non-exits (or at least it seemed that way to a numpty like me). Going into the ground, as you pass through the turnstile you enter the only side of the ground with any type of structures, there is a narrow 2 row covered shelter of seats to the right, whilst to the left there is hard standing adjacent to the community centre wall above the grass banking, the other 3 sides of the stadium are purely pitchside hard standing. You get a good view from the top of the bank but overall, with the greatest of respect, the ground does lack a bit of character.
Formby had brought about 10 fans (25% of the crowd) and they seemed mighty pleased that their heroes were not overcome with the proceedings, in fact they appeared highly delighted when the Nostell keeper couldn't get a clearance away and the impressive Jason Carey pillaged the situation to put Formby into a sixth minute lead. Nostell tried to ignore the ruthless speed in which Formby continued to break forward and attempted to consolidate midfield superiority. A dangerous game and one can appreciate how Formby have taken so many sides apart this season, they pass it well, have supreme confidence on the ball and are never afraid to put a colleague away down a channel. Nostell played a percentages styled game that offered plenty of possession but revealed only half chances going forward. However the home side got a well struck equaliser through James Eyles half way through the half but they still continued to look vulnerable at the back.
Formby struck again 7 minutes into the second half, a sublime finish from Joe Walker. I expected a major Nostell push forward following this set-back but it was Formby who seemed to be the more dangerous and continued to play some really good football. We had to wait for the final 10 minutes before Nostell applied consistent threatening pressure. Formby went into siege mode whilst Nostell threw the sink at them. Formby held out despite quite a bit of injury time clock watching. It had been an entertaining game, Nostell don't look a bad side and I'm sure they can put this behind them, however, they need to be a bit more clinical in front of goal.
As for Formby, I was genuinely impressed, they have some very good players and the style of football is pleasing on the eye. This was a bit of a giantkilling on paper but I wouldn't like to draw this Formby side in the next round of the Vase, they could go further in this competition yet? They look a good side.