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|Out the Cups!|
Goole Booted out the Riding
By: Chrs Smith
THERE'S something about Tuesday night cup games and having been raised on the Mariners playing Everton and Wolves in the old League Cup in my first season as a fan, there is always a wistful whiff of nostalgia around the cooler evenings of autumn when there is still plenty to play for.
Throw in the surroundings of the Victoria Pleasure Grounds, the docks, railway and tight terraced housing, and you have the archetypal Northern football ground.
The public of Goole sadly didn't share this view as a sparse crowd assembled for the West Riding Cup tie against Eccleshill United of Bradford. Bit of a shame this really as in my eight years watching Goole, I've seen them promoted from the North Counties East League into what is now the Evostik League and follow this up two years later with winning the trophy being played for tonight. That campaign was played largely away from home and we were to trek from Harrogate Railway to Ossett and Woodlesford to Thackley. Tonight, I was merely left to reflect that it was just as well I don't have any enemies at the club as I wouldn't have found anywhere to hide.
The previous four homes game I've seen this campaign have been entertaining with a 1-1 draw against Sheffield followed by a 4-2 defeat of Coalville. The 5-0 drubbing of Lincoln United in the Doodson Sport Cup was a highlight given that it was a rare cup win for the Vikings and avenged a 4-2 home defeat by the same side earlier this season. The 3-2 defeat to Durham City in an FA Trophy qualifier denied the Vikings a chance of a potential money spinner further down the line against the Mariners.
Eccleshill hope to be back on the way up after a particularly harrowing campaign that saw them relegated from the North Counties East Premier League in 2009 where the casual observer of results could have been forgiven for thinking he'd just looked up the cricket scores in error.
As we two Grimsby exiles assembled, the night’s earliest entertainment was provided by Gary picking a golden goal time of 54 minutes which given the abundance of goals here this season was like being handed an unplugged bathtub to escape the Titanic in.
Mind you, goals were to prove hard to come by in the opening half. Goole started frenetically with plenty of early action around the Eccleshill penalty area resulting in a shot wide after two minutes and two minutes later space was found with the away keeper rounded but the subsequent shot blocked. We hoped for another glut of goals given Goole were playing a team two divisions beneath them in the Pyramid but also mindful that Level 5 Staveley had already won here in the FA Cup.
One player who caught the eye was Tom Johnson, the Goole number six and he made his presence felt when he was adjudged to have brought down the Eccleshill nine and captain, Marcus Edwards. Edwards was to prove a handful all night although the subsequent free kick came to nothing.
Back at the railway end of the pitch, Goole broke down the right with a good ball in resulting in a chance coming back off the bar. Game on.
Not to be left out, Eccleshill’s captain was given time to have a poke at the ball as the Goole defence appeared to watch but this mercifully cleared the bar.
As Stuart Hall would put it, plenty of huffing and puffing ensued with Goole having a header put well over and then Eccleshill’s Charlie Flaherty putting a ball in to the Goole area which the home keeper gathered. A few moments later, in what were proving to be rare Eccleshill attacks, a corner was forced. The subsequent ball proved dangerous and a good header in front of the Goole goalmouth was hastily cleared but only as far as the edge of the area and the following shot only just cleared the post.
About four minutes later, Eccleshill’s skipper was found by a good ball and jinxed through defenders into the penalty area with his ball in finally cleared. A lone voice bellowed "C’mon!" in exasperation at the home side’s efforts and I recognised my long suffering companion at the game against Durham.
All was not lost though and an excellent goal was scored by Vill Powell on 42 minutes when he connected with a good ball and hooked his shot into the goal. You would have got good odds on having to wait that long for a goal here this season.
Half time Vikings 1 United 0
Eccleshill were the closest to scoring in the early exchanges of the second half when a chance went over the bar. However, the Goole players looked more organised and purposeful and broke forward regularly. After 52 minutes, such a move led to a blast over the bar and on the hour, a good ball into the Eccleshill area led to a good header causing problems and a subsequent header cleared off the line. A few moments later, Powell tried a chip from the right which Martins in the Eccleshill goal caught though those of us adjacent to Powell thought that one was going in. Two minutes after that, another good ball in from the Goole right just missed a few waiting heads. Most of Goole’s opportunities were coming from this direction.
However, with just one goal in it, Edwards signalled his intent and broke well down the pitch only to be blocked when home fans feared the worst. Goole then came close at the other end.
Powell was to deserve another goal when he tried to hook another shot in and with just under 15 minutes left, the Eccleshill keeper had to save to keep his side in the game.
I was just about deciding whether to leave a few minutes early and catch a train home when Edwards equalised for the away side and whilst a level scoreline might have been harsh on Goole, the Eccleshill number nine deserved something for his efforts on the night. Not quite what we wanted as the prospect of extra time and chillier temperatures beckoned.
Eccleshill decided they didn't fancy the prospect either and Matt Moore tucked away a ball from the right just a few minutes later and judging by their celebrations, the players were well up for this. The Goole crowd were quietened. Okay, I lied about that as the game was played in a similar atmosphere to those at Blundell Park this season, near funereal silence.
Goole did try to rescue the game with a very late header being cleared off the line. As a Grimsby supporter, there was something eerily familiar in the way that Goole had led for so much of the game only to succumb in the last few minutes and rue not converting chances into goals.
Full time Vikings 1 United 2
That’s Goole out of every cup competition for this season and only the league to focus on. The Evostik Division One South is tight however and a return to goal scoring for fun and conceding less means all is not lost. Eccleshill meanwhile sit eighth in their league, eight points off the top and with four games in hand. And a chance of some extra silverware…
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