FA Carlsberg Trophy First Qualifying Round: New Mills 3, Stocksbridge Park Steels 2
FOR THE second successive round, a goal in the dying minutes secured victory for New Mills, this time against Evo-Stik Premier Division side Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Thoughts of the players suffering an FA Cup hangover after last week’s defeat at Carlton Town were quickly dispelled as the Millers started the game in explosive fashion.
Skipper Carlos Meakin, in his more familiar midfield role, took just 19 seconds to get on the scoresheet after collecting Luke Horrocks’ cross and neatly tucking the ball home from 12 yards.
Then Daniel Grimshaw was impeded in the box by ex-Miller Nick Swirad and while referee Mr Powell did not initially give a foul, his assistant spotted the infringement. Meakin sent Adam Billard the wrong way from the penalty spot to double the advantage.
When Lincoln Adams clumsily upended Luke Horrocks in the 22nd minute, the referee this time had no hesitation in again pointing to the spot. Meakin put the ball to the same side of Billard, but on this occasion the keeper guessed correctly and made a decent save.
Stocksbridge grabbed a lifeline ten minutes before the interval when Danny South’s precise looping header from a free-kick hit the stanchion in the roof of the net before bouncing over the line past debutant keeper Andrew Mills.
Billard failed to complete the first half when he was shown a red card in stoppage time. A caution for dissent following the second penalty award proved very costly when the keeper brought down Kristian Cox. Mr Powell had no alternative but to show the keeper his second yellow card. With no replacement on the bench, striker Andy Ring donned the gloves.
Mills, signed on loan from Macclesfield Town, produced an outstanding point-blank save to deny Janni Lipka in the second half, while the Millers, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, never seriously tested the stand-in keeper.
With ten minutes remaining, Mr Powell awarded his third penalty of the afternoon when Michael Bowler was penalised for a push in the back and Stocksbridge captain Brett Bowden-Lovell confidently converted the spot-kick.
It appeared likely that a midweek replay was looming, but with 60 seconds of normal time remaining debutant substitute Jay Burgess made himself an instant hero by grabbing the winner. The young striker had only been on the field for around a dozen minutes when he connected with Dave Fitzpatrick’s inswinging free-kick and his deft flicked header crept inside the post.
New Mills: Mills, Headley, Fitzpatrick, Bowler, Chadwick, Innes, Meakin, Young, Cox (Burgess), Grimshaw, Horrocks (Armstrong). Unused substitutes: Pickering, Moss, Coates. Attendance: 155.