Nelson 1-2 Heaton Stannington
FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round: Saturday 10 September 2016
Although more associated with Nelson, victory was the Stan’s as they sailed into the next round of the vase after navigating some choppy water in the 2nd half (that’s the last Nelson pun in this column). There was early pressure from Nelson and when the Stan did have the ball they were rushing too much and not holding onto it, instead relying on long balls. The Stan were getting caught out regularly on their left and it proved fatal in 12 minutes when a home player got by James, ran down the wing and sent a ball into the box. Smith dived and got his fingers to the ball from the initial shot but Jake Townsend slotted the rebound home before a defender could clear. A minute later and Smith sliced a clearance but Williams then cleared for a corner which resulted in Nelson shooting over. In 17 minutes, a free kick by James into the box was headed the wrong way by a defender and Graham Williams got in to shoot and make it 1-1. Nelson immediately attacked followed by a counterattack which somehow saw Robinson deemed offside.
Nelson continued to press down the Stan’s left although there was good work by the Stan defence and by Smith who had to catch regularly. This pressure was interspersed with Robinson getting forward on 3 occasions although a number of long balls were also wasted. In the 30th minute, Blackett broke through the Nelson defence but the keeper saved his shot. Soon after, the ball got to James who shot and scored but was deemed to be offside. More home attacks followed, leading to 2 Smith catches. Against the run of play, it was the Stan who went 2-1 up in 38 minutes when a good run by Robinson up the left saw him lose a defender and shoot at the keeper who parried the ball which allowed the incoming Dean Imray to shoot and make it 2-1. Nelson’s Pat O’Brien was working hard and he shot over in 39 minutes followed by a Stan counter attack which saw Robinson’s shot blocked. Nelson finished the half with a pro-longed attack which alas saw Smith and Jones work well.
Bailey and McCabe came on for the 2nd half and much of it saw the Stan with their backs to the wall. It was mainly pressure by Nelson until 54 minutes when a Bailey header was caught by the keeper. Nelson resumed their attacks, which kept the ball mainly in the Stan half. The Stan defence held firm and they did try to counter attack but without much success. In 61 minutes, a rare Stan attack saw Johnson win the ball but his effort went across the goal and just wide. The Stan then attacked again but Jones blasted his shot just wide followed by Bailey heading wide from a free kick. The pressure was back on the Stan until in 65 minutes, Robinson counter attacked but an unjust foul was given against him. In 74 minutes, there was another through ball to Robinson who beat the keeper but was blocked by a defender and he then shot wide. The last period of the match saw mainly Nelson pressure, with Nabeel particularly dangerous, but with some Stan counter attacks and Williams heading off the line. The Stan defended well and were hanging on although in 84 minutes a home forward headed wide when he should have scored. There was a prolonged Nelson attack as the match went into 5 minutes of injury time. Williams made a partial clearance followed by Smith making a finger-tip save. Smith then parried the ball from the corner. The final kick of the match saw Nelson shooting over after a free kick had been headed clear. Geoff Walker, who is returning to the dugout, was delighted with the result and has already packed his sandwiches for the trip to Wembley!
Stan Team: Smith; Jones (Wear); Williams (Y); Stoddart; Scott; James (McCabe); Fulcher; Imray; Robinson; Blackett (Bailey); Johnson (Y).