Saturday 15th November 2008

Saturday 15th November 2008
Market Drayton Town 2 Newcastle Town 1
FA Carlsberg Vase Second Round
At: Greenfields
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 161
Weather: mild, drizzle

This tie stood out for me in the Second Round draw and I needed no pursuading at all to select it as my 'Match of the Day'.

In terms of league positions, there aren't many better sides in the Vase than Market Drayton (five points clear at the top of the Midland Alliance) and Newcastle Town (third in the Vodkat League Premier Divisions). Both sides have ambitions to gain promotion to the Unibond League come next May.

Only 14 miles separate the two towns with Market Drayton just a few miles over the Staffordshire border in north-east Shropshire.

Coincidently, I spent the morning in and the Potteries, visiting Newcastle to purchase (but ended up just ordering) a viola exam music book. The journey from Newcastle to MD was straight forward with directions spot on. Keep on the A53 bypass until the Gingerbread Pub roundabout. Turn left towards the town then right just before the bridge into Greenfields Lane (there is a sign). Continue down the lane to the ground.

I got down to the car park (shared with the rugby club) and was asked: "football or rugby?". "Football," I said. "Football on the right". So I parked my car at the end towards the right-hand side. The conversation with the official does sound a bit 'Carol Beer like' but was anything but. (I can hear Mark Taylor wondering who Carol Beer is).

It is a few minutes walk from the car park to the ground. Programmes were on sale at the entrance for £1.

The ground itself which strectches lengthways from the entrance behind on bye-line is undergoing inprovement to gain a Unibond League grading. All the facilities were on the left-hand touchline - seated stand, refreshments, hospitality, etc. Next to the entrance is a new area of covered standing. Work is in progress to extend the main stand to provide, I guess, 50% extra seats.

I got the teams from the Newcastle Secretary and they were also announced over the tannoy.

The main stand provided the perfect vantage point and I sat on the back row just about on the half-way line.

Newcastle (all white) got the game underway attacking the entrance end (left to right) and took the lead in the 17th minute through Andy Kinsey. The striker headed Daryl Wilkes' long throw towards goal and home keeper Andrew Pryce only succeeded in parrying the ball into his own net.

Further Newcastle goals could have come in the first half though they were comfortable at the break. But the game was turned on its head just after the hour mark and Market Drayton (all red) scored two quick goals. Stuart Ellis levelled things up and, just 41 seconds after the game restarted, Craig Ryan hit the winner.