After the Lord Mayors Parade on Saturday at Stalybridge, this game was a million miles away. Typical Blues, we have a couple of seasons out of the FA Cup, so we milk our return to the competition and not only play the tie twice, but also have a bit of extra time. We all loved being back in it. Didn’t we?
The game was rather drab, Chester took the lead through early sub Dom Collins before an equaliser at the death meant we had to endure the 30 minutes extra. After working out who I’d have as my first five penalty takers, Levi Mackin popped up to win the game and send us into the 3rd Qualifying Round this weekend; nicely avoiding the ‘worst case scenario’. Here are a few things of note from the evening:
1) George Horan and Dom Collins
It wasn’t a game we’ll rush to watch on the end of season DVD, but it was a game which these two really impressed at the back. Collins, on early for Paul Linwood, looked assured and comfortable adding pace and power to George’s brains and bravery. Credit to both centre halves that their equaliser came from a volley outside the area, which really should’ve been closed down by a midfielder. However, it wasn’t just defending from set pieces, both looked a threat to the Gainsborough defence with Collins opening the scoring and George carving two chances for the Blues – including one which ended up in BIG Storage’s car park…
2) Inspired substitutions
Not sure whether he planned to use Dom Collins and Levi Mackin as his substitutes, but they proved to the match winners for Neil Young and his management team. First, sub Collins got the opener with a screamer – of sorts – and after huffing and puffing, we had the lead. Then after conceding, and on a day when some had let their shooting boots in Stalybridge, it always seemed as though there would be an unlikely hero. Step up Levi Mackin. The boy from Blacon – who’s signing for the Blues was once written off before kicking a ball – isn’t known for his goalscoring, but right place at the right time, and a cool head left him as the match winner. With subs like that, imagine how good Youngy is on Football Manager?
3) Wes Baynes and that free-kick
We’ve been treated to some fantastic goals already this season, but I’m a sucker for a glorious free kick. When Chester were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the Gainsborough penalty area, and Wes Baynes sprinted over, you knew he had the wand ready to perform some magic. If anyone is capable, Wesley certainly is. A second goal, at that point, would have made it 2-0, and for what it’s worth, would’ve got me home 30 minutes earlier. Instead, Baynes’ thump pinged off the cross bar a flew back around 20 yards, BEHIND where the free kick was taken from. Tekkers.
4) FC Halifax Town
On to the next round. FC Halifax Town in arguably the rounds biggest tie. The league game saw the Blues win 2-1, and home advantage will probably make us favourite for the tie with your local bookmaker. Halifax have summer signing Gareth Seddon to call upon this time around, but we have new signing Tony Gray to parade around the Exacta. In preparation for the game, the sides have had two indifferent weeks, which can be looked at in two ways. Halifax’s league game with Vauxhall’s was postponed at the last minute last night, so they have had no game since the weekend. On the other hand we’ve had 120 minutes of a battle with just 3 days prep for Saturday. Some would say that’s a big advantage to Halifax. However, they will have been up for a game only for it to be called off, and probably rearranged training sessions for their midweek game, even possibly dropping a training night for the game scheduled for Tuesday. Advantage who now? All hypothetical I know but food for thought.
I hate penalties. Like really. To the point where I feel physically sick and have to turn around and not watch. (I blame Dave Cameron in 2003 for that). I’ve never known a team I’ve backed in a shootout to win it. We seemed doomed for penalties, so I played the role of Mr Young and pencilled in my list for the referee. Here was my first five takers:
1. McGinn, 2. Jarman, 3. Baynes, 4. Mackin, 5. Howard
I’m sure we’d have only needed McGinn, Jarman and Baynes as they would’ve all scored and Danby would’ve made three saves. Yeah?
Right then, that’s my first blog done on here. That was easy enough. On to Saturday and Halifax now, and hope to see you all there. Remember to buy a 50/50 draw ticket. You’ve gotta be in it, to win it.