Vase upset at Basford

Saturday 21st September 2013
Basford United 0 Cleethorpes Town 2
FA Carlsberg Vase Second Qualifying Round
At: Mill Street Playing Field, Greenwich Avenue, Basford, Nottingham
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Admission: £5; Programme: £1 (16 pages + official teamsheet)
Weather: warm and sunny

Today’s football recipe consisted of four ingredients… (a) FA Vase tie; (b) at a ground never previously visited; (c) not a million miles from home; and (d) a decent story to recall whatever the result. Out of the 153 ties being played this afternoon, four leapt off the page of the Football Traveller and I was sent of my way to north-west Nottingham for an intriguing contest between two Toolstation Northern Counties East League sides. Both recently gained promotion – Basford at the end of last season from the East Midlands Counties League to the Premier Division and Cleethorpes in 2012 from the Lincolnshire League to Division One.

To me on paper, progressive Basford United looked to have the pedigree to move through several rounds or even make it all the way to the final at Wembley, especially after they found their goalscoring touch on Tuesday with a 5-1 against Heanor Town. On the other hand, I’d noticed Cleethorpes Town had made an impressive start to their second campaign in Division One. Who would prevail?

Had things turned out differently on one March Saturday last year, I would have already visited Greenwich Avenue. But I decided to miss the middle two games of the four-game Central Midlands League ‘Bonanza’ (Basford and Dronfield) in favour of a visit to Appleby Frodingham after the opening game at Clifton and before the final game at Glapwell.

Looking at photos from that Bonanza game on Laurence Reade's blog (link here), improvements have been made a plenty at Greenwich Avenue in the intervening 18 months. A new perimeter fence for starters, seats in the stand near the dugouts as well as an extra area of covered standing behind one goal and of course floodlights. Another new facility nearing completion is the pitch-side changing room block.

Arriving early, as is my preference, a club official kindly opened up the paybox – admission with souvenir match ticket (£5), programme (£1) and lapel badge (£3). Subsequently teamsheets were provided free of charge for those who purchased a programme, a nice and most welcome touch.

The current league table shows Basford sitting 11th with 14 points from 11 games. Goalscoring looks to be a problem this season with no more than two scored in a game until a thumping 5-1 home win over Heanor Town on Tuesday (watched by On The Road’s Malc and Kev

Before the game I got chatting to an Ilkeston-based groundhopper wearing a Llandyrnog Summer League top who was making his first visit to the Mill Street playing fields for donkeys years.

One of Northampton’s finest, Mr John Revitt esq, also arrived for his second visit to the ground having seen a 0-0 draw a few years ago played over 40 minutes each way. He assured me that he’d not morphed into his mode of transport – the Tram! [a joke for groundhoppers and one no doubt totally lost on those not familiar with ‘Garstang Bob’]. I was good to meet up with John again.

The Basford United website ( provides an informative history of a club that had only come to my attention over the past couple of years.

Basford United's birthplace was the Old Pear Tree Inn in 1900. It wasn't long before they moved to the Dolly Tub pitch, which is now part of the Highbury Estate. In 1903 they moved to Catchems Corner where they stayed for 27 years until they moved to Vernon Avenue. A few years later they moved to Mill Street and in 1990 to Greenwich Avenue.

To their credit, Basford have risen from the 'lower reaches of Notts Alliance Division One' to Step 5 in little over 10 years. In recent times following a spell in the Notts Amateur League, they joined the Notts Senior League in 2006, then won the 2011/12 Central Midlands League South title at the first attempt after moving up a step and following this up by winning the East Midlands Counties League last season, also at the first attempt.

Five wins and two draws from their first nine league games is a pretty good return and enough to put Cleethorpes in third position in the Division One table. Defeated 2-0 at home by current leaders two weeks ago, they have bounced back with back-to-back wins over Hall Road Rangers in the league and most recently over Hallam in the League Cup.

Referee James Thornhill (injured refereeing the Walsall Wood v Wigan Robin Park Vase tie I saw back in January) led the teams out from the soon-to-be-old changing rooms and Basford (in amber and black) soon got the action underway. The visitors won the toss and decided to attack the far railway end in the first half with the sun on their backs.

Basford suffered an early blow when Ash Dyce picked up an injury around the nine-minute mark which forced the skipper out of the game.

The home side created a decent chance to take the lead midway through the first half. Jamie Walker on the left threaded a path to Tyeisse Nightingale who saw his low shot held by the diving Cleethorpes goalkeeper Scott Drury.

At this point, Cleethorpes had certainly been on top and they turned their dominance into an opening goal scored in the 28th minute. Luke Mascall on the left inside the area found Brody Robertson at the far post who fired a low angled shot across the Basford six-yard box. The ball rebounded off the far post and Nathan Emson slotted home the rebound to score his fourth goal of the season.

Having been forced to adjust following the earlier departure of one central defender, Basford lost their other to injury as well when Jack Davies limped off. The home side certainly faced an uphill task, a goal down and just one substitution remaining.

I made my way around to the stand and spent the latter stages of the first half in the company of the aforementioned Mr Revitt. Checking Twitter at half-time, I was left in admiration of the couple sat in front of me for their detailed account of the first half.

Here’s how they saw the goal… 27' 0-1 #NoMoreTeletext: Fantastic switch ball by J. Oglesby to @Mascall17, he passes one player, squares the ball to @brody_robertson.... who's shot hits the post and rebounds into the path of @NathanEmmo who smashes the ball home

The Basford tweeter had also been busy as well… Utd behind on 27 as really slack play allows a Cleethorpe forward to net off the post.

Elsewhere in the Vase, of particular interest to me,…Stafford Town losing 4-0 at Bromsgrove and down to ten men and Wolverhampton Casuals leading Brocton 2-1 at Silkmore Lane in a Staffordshire derby. March Town United, the club I visited seven days ago were losing 1-0 at home to Godmanchester.

No joy with raffle as my ticket no-so-lucky strip of 946–950 yellow turned out to be a million miles away from the winning 316–320. Tea from the hatch near the paybox was a good cuppa.

It got worse for Basford in the 52nd minute with a second goal for Cleethorpes. Home goalkeeper Alessandro Barcherini got down to cut out Jonathan Oglesby’s low cross into the area from the left, succeeded only in presenting Emson with a gift of a chance which he duly slotted home. Two goals for Emson! Could the home side respond?

“Any idea of the Forest score,” someone asked me. “Sorry, no,” I replied to an Italian-sounding man who couldn't be faulted for his vociferous support of the home team. Great to see characters like him watching non-league football.

With a two-goal deficit to close simply to force extra time, Basford needed to show some urgency and, to their credit, started to do so. Perhaps their best chance was a late 25-yard shot by Tyeisse Nightingale which flew past the goal. Even Barcherini went up for a corner near the end. The well-organised Cleethorpes defence did their job.

Disappointment for Basford at full-time and joy for Cleethoropes, winners in their first-ever FA Vase tie. Wonder who they’ll get in Monday’s First Round draw?

Elsewhere, according to Twitter, nine-man Stafford Town endured an FA Vase exit to forget with an 8-0 defeat at Bromsgrove while Brocton scored two late goals to snatch a 3-3 draw against the Cassies and force extra time [Brocton ended up winning 5-3]. Late goals were popular in Stafford as Rangers netted a winner in the 95th minute to defeat FC United of Manchester at Marston Road.

It was a pleasure to visit Basford United. Good luck to them for the rest of the season. Also good luck to Cleethorpes on the 'road to Wembley' and I'll be avidly following the tweets of #NoMoreTeletext. I'm sure I'll see both clubs again at some point during the season.

Basford United (amber/black/amber): 1. Alessandro Barcherini, 2. David Boafo, 3. Jamie Walker, 4. Ash Dyce (capt), 5. Jack Davies, 6. Martin Holt, 7. Theo Smith, 8. Jermaine Hollis, 9. Cashel Walters, 10. Tyeisse Nightingale, 11. Courtney Hastings. Subs: Martin Carruthers (for Smith, 63), 14. Lee Morris (not used), 15. Wayne Jones (not used), 16. Robert McCormack (for Davies, 28), 17. Kieren Kenton-Bradshaw (for Dyce, 15). Manager: Darren Saunders.

Cleethorpes Town (red/red/red): 1. Scott Drury, 2. Daniel Grant, 3. Lawrence Howard, 4. Richard Peck, 5. Matthew Coleman, 6. Alex Flett, 7. Luke Mascall, 8. Darren Hanslip (capt), 9, Nathan Emson, 10. Brody Robertson, 11. Jonathan Oglesby. Subs: 12. Mark Sawyer (for Oglesby, 83), 14. Marc Cooper (for Robertson, 59), 15. Matthew Oswin (for Hanslip, 88), 16. Lee McFarland (not used), 17. Reece Newell (not used). Manager: Marcus Newell.

Referee: James Thornhill
Assistants: James Oldham and Peter Bailey

Attendance: 74
Duration: first-half: 46:55; second-half: 48:06

0-1 Nathan Emson (28)
0-2 Nathan Emson (52)

Basford: Tyeisse Nightingale (YC, 67)
Cleethorpes: Alex Flett (YC, 62)

Footnote: Basford manager Darren Saunders resigned three days later after three successful years in charge and Cleethorpes were drawn away to Harborough Town in the First Round draw.