Vase trail: Road To Nowhere
By Gary Broughton
Updated Thursday, 16th December 2010
Match 5. Wednesday 15th December 2010. 3rd Round. Holbrook Sports v St. Helens Town. The O-kra Ground, Holbrook.
So onto Holbrook it was. A little village close to Belper, and just a few miles from Derby. Although it nearly wasn't onto it, as following two weekend postponements, the match was rescheduled to a midweek slot.
Being the tight bugger I am, I chose to save myself 30 miles and go past New Mills and down the A roads. Once I was on the A5012, the choice language was starting to get into full flow. A completely unlit road, probably peaking higher than Mount Everest, and with more chicanes than Silverstone, I was seriously asking myself what the bloody hell I was doing this for.
With traffic problems it had got to 8pm, but having seen the "road" my sat nav was suggesting I take, I parked up, and waited for a woman parking her car in her drive to ask her directions. And waited. And waited some more.
Anyway, come 8.15pm, she'd finally managed to manoevre into her final position, and she duly confirmed I did need to go up this dodgy road. Which I did. Carefully.
After parking up, I heard a roar, so had seemingly missed the first goal. "What's the score?" I asked. "2-0 Holbrook". So I'd missed Marc Finlay's opener on the quarter hour, where he spun the centre half on the edge of the area and drilled low into the corner, as well as his second, a tap-in following a melee in the area,
The last quarter of the first half proved to be all out attack for the hosts, and St. Helens really weren't in the game. Emeka "Emile Heskey" Ejiofor was causing Town all manner of problems, flashing a sizzler narrowly wide on 37 minutes, and it was no surprise when he killed the game off four minutes before half-time.
James Ozmen played a neat ball through to Finlay, and he played it back inside for Ejiofor to smash one from the edge of the area, via a slight deflection, over the head of the keeper and into the net.
Despite having the advantage of a massive slope in the second half, it seemed too much to expect St. Helens to get back into the game, and so it proved. They enjoyed most of the possession, but just couldn't muster a shot on target, with no-one able to get vital touches from a handful of decent crosses and corners.
Holbrook didn't offer much, and in reality didn't need to, although with 20 minutes left the number 7 went on an incredible run from his own half. Unfortunately for him, he was so knackered by the time he'd reached the penalty area that he wobbled from side to side and fell over the ball in comedy fashion.
However, there was still to be one more goal in the game, and it was a gift for the home side as the Saints keeper needlessly upended Finlay in the area. Gavin Whitehead duly stepped up to smash the ball straight down the centre of goal and emphatically confirm Holbrook's passage into the next round.
As for me, with the journey down reminding me of Talking Heads' "Road To Nowhere", I enjoyed a swift half in the neat little clubhouse before taking the longer but more sensible route of the M1 and M62 combo back home to good old Lancashire.
FA VASE TRAIL SO FAR (team followed in capitals)
1st Qualifying Round
Sat 04 Sep 3pm NELSON v Abbey Hey (walkover for Abbey Hey)g
2nd Qualifying Round
Sat 18 Sep 3pm ABBEY HEY 0 Oldham Boro 0 (after extra time)
2nd Qualifying Round Replay
Tue 21 Sep 7.45pm Oldham Boro 3 ABBEY HEY 2 (after extra time, played at Abbey Hey)
Sat 02 Oct 3.00pm St. Helens Town 2 OLDHAM BORO 1 (played at Ashton Town)
Sat 13 Nov 3.00pm Winterton Rangers 0 ST. HELENS TOWN 2
Wed 15 Dec 7.45pm Holbrook Sports 4 ST. HELENS TOWN 0