FA Carlsberg Trophy Preliminary Round: New Mills 2, Radcliffe Borough 3
THE PHRASE ‘a game of two halves’ is a well-used footballing cliche but perfectly describes Saturday’s game which saw New Mills disappointingly exit the FA Trophy at the first hurdle.
The home side, who were looking for their first victory since the opening week of September, made the perfect start when striker Leon Grandison capitalised on a mistake by former Manchester United goalkeeper Nick Culkin to give them the lead in only the second minute of the game.
The Millers were showing glimpses of their early season attacking form which had seen them top the Evo-Stik League First Division South for the opening weeks of the campaign, but it was Radcliffe who levelled proceedings in the 25th minute.
Centre-half Clive Brown fouled Ben Wharton in the area and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a spot kick, which Dave Sherlock converted with ease.
New Mills deservedly regained their advantage before the interval when Kristian Cox scored his first competitive goal for the club, and if it wasn’t for the same player rattling the crossbar and the referee being the only person in Church Lane not to see a blatant handball by a Borough defender, that lead would have been far greater.
After the break, The Millers were barely recognisable from the team that had played so well in the first half.
With the ball not sticking with the attackers, the defence was working overtime to maintain the slender advantage and their cause wasn’t aided by the dismissal of Luke Horrocks, who was shown a straight red card for hauling back Tom Brooks who was clear through on goal.
This incident came back to haunt New Mills in the latter stages of the game as Radcliffe persistently attacked James Coates’ goal, and it came as no real surprise when the visitors grabbed two goals in the final 15 minutes of the game through Shaun Connor and Ben Wharton which ultimately saw them claim victory and secure a home tie in the next round against Harrogate Railway Athletic.
New Mills: James Coates, Michael Bowler (Kingsley Grandison), Mark Innes, Otis Gorman, Clive Brown, Daniel Douglas-Pringle, Kristian Cox, Chris Young, Ashley Stott (Tony Barras), Leon Grandison, Luke Horrocks. Subs: Justin Pickering, Antony Field, Ben Proctor (GK).