Eccleshall 1 Holbrook Miners Welfare 0

Wednesday 24th September 2008
Eccleshall 1 Holbrook Miners Welfare 0
FA Carlsberg Vase Second Qualifying Round Replay
At: Pershall Park
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £3; Programme: £1 (36 pages)
Attendance: 73
Weather: dry, mild
Duration: first half: 45:50; second half: 48:52

Eccleshall’s leading scorer Dwayne Spence booked his side a place in the FA Carlsberg Vase first round after scoring the only goal in last night’s keenly-fought second qualifying round replay at Pershall Park. The tall striker, who caused problems for the visitors’ defence all game, struck the winner just before the half-hour mark with a close-range shot. However, the Eagles needed a second-half penalty save from new keeper Dean Latham to remain in front.

Considering how close Eccleshall is to Stafford, I is somewhat surprising that I haven't seen a game at Pershall Park since 1987 (21 years ago). The easy-to-find ground is located on the right-hand side on the Eccleshall to Loggerheads Road (take High Street through the town which becomes Chester Road).

I entered the ground from the far end and all the facilities are down the near (eastern) side touchline of the ground which is orientated south-west to north-east. There are three areas of cover. Seats in front of the clubhouse on the near touchline, covered standing opposite on halfway behind the dugouts and further cover behind the near goal by the corner flag.

The present-day Eccleshall FC was founded in 1971 and became members of the Staffordshire Senior League in 1984. Facilities were enhanced so they could move up to the North West Counties League in 2003.

As a member of the press covering the game for the local paper, I introduced myself and copied down the teamsheets from an Eccleshall official.

Holbrook (in all white) got the game underway attacking the road end in the first half. However, it was Eccleshall who had the first decent effort on goal just before the quarter hour mark. Visiting keeper Damien Clark was forced to turn round a well-struck shot from Mick Marren at the expense of a corner.

Holbrook winger Karl Demidh was fortunate to escape with just a booking for an awful late challenge on Mark Mapperton.

In the 29th minute, Peter Shore played the ball off defender Chris Sadler to win a corner. Delivered by Shore, the ball was headed towards goal by Oliver Leaver for Spence to hammer home from close to the right-hand post.

Holbrook went close to an equaliser before the interval when a low left-foot drive from Sam Kellog flashed across the face of the home goal.

Spence almost doubled his side’s lead nine minutes into the second half. He got only the end of a long ball from the back by Alex Hutchinson only to send a lob agonisingly inches wide.

Russell DeMatteo was also unlucky to see a right-foot curler hit the inside of the right and rebound into the arms of a relieved Clark.

Holbrook were awarded a penalty in the 64th minute for a foul by Hutchinson on Joe Kellog. The decision looked harsh and Eccleshall felt justice was done when Latham dived to low his left to keep out Rob Harrison's spot kick.

Latham was called into action again to tip a rising shot from Joe Kellog onto the bar.

The two saves, along with some well-organised and determined defending, proved crucial in the end.

In the closing stages, DeMatteo narrowly missed with a lob and Spence drove just over the bar as the home side tried to extinguish any prospect of extra time.

Speaking to me after the game, Eccleshall manager Dave Dale said: “All in all, we deserved the win and I’m really proud of the lads as they worked really hard. Holbrook are a good side. They work very hard. They gave us no time on Saturday and they gave us no time tonight. If you look at the game in terms of clear-cut chances, we could have won by three or four. We soaked up the pressure as they had a lot of possession play in our last third. They didn’t really hurt us.”

Eccleshall (blue and black stripes / black / black): 1. Dean Latham, 2. Mark Mapperson, 3. Adam Soane, 4. Alex Hutchinson, 5. Steve Brunt, 6. Oliver Leaver, 7. Peter Shore, 8. Mick Marren, 9. Dwayne Spence, 10. Russell DeMatteo (capt), 11. Leigh Skellern. Subs: 12. Rob Adlington (not used), 14. Craig James (not used), 15. Joe Abedini (not used), 16. Nick Oxley (not used), 17. Gary Wootton (not used).

Holbrook Miners Welfare (white/white/white): 1. Damien Clark, 2. Ron Harrison (capt), 3. Chris Sadler, 4. Shaun Roulston, 14. Neil Broadhurst, 6. Sam Kellog, 7. Vaughan Hallsworth, 8. Joe Kellog, 9. Joe Ashdown, 10. Sam Bayliss, 11. Karl Demidh. Subs: 12. James Slack (for Ashdown, 70), 14. Craig Black (not used), 15. Adem Mahmoud (for Bayliss, 79), 16, David Moon (for Hallsworth, 79), 17. Jon Brown (not used).

Referee: I. Hurdle (Holmes Chapel).
Assistants: R. Crawford (Stoke-on-Trent) and D. Critchlow (Waterhouses).

1-0 Dwayne Spence (29)

Eccleshall: Mick Marren (YC, 38), Alex Hutchinson (YC, 64), Dwayne Spence (YC, 75), Mark Mapperson (YC, 86)
Holbrook: Karl Demidh (YC, 19), Sam Kellog (YC, 90+1)