Saturday, 10 August 2019

10/08/19 Review: Shepshed Dynamo vs Maltby Main

Shepshed Dynamo 2-4 Maltby Main (FA Cup Qualifying Extra Preliminary Round)
The Dovecoat Stadium

With the season just about underway, it was time for me to kickoff my FA Cup campaign with a trip over to Leicestershire to see what The Dovecoat Stadium in Shepshed had to offer on a gusty Saturday afternoon that would see Maltby Main hop down from eastern Rotherham. There was a strong choice of fixtures for the afternoon and after finishing up at work by 2pm I took my chances on the 50 minute commute from Coventry, along the M69, north on the M1 and over to the hilariously named street upon which Dyanmo's ground lays.

Thanks to the Shepshed steward for taking this legendary pic
Arriving just before kickoff, I parked up and rushed over to the ground just in time for the squads coming out to the field. First impressions of the ground were good overall, with the highlights being the amount of decent undercover stands on three sides of the ground. Behind one goal was a small stand which could've easily been designed by Easyjet due to its backless seating, meanwhile the majority of the fans stood under the roofed standing area behind the dugouts which is adjoined to a raised stand and the Dynamo Diner. Finally, across the pitch was a long three tiered seating stand that housed the one "ultra" fan who shouted out chants throughout. There is even some bark around the edge of the pitch- very fancy indeed.

Better than a lot I've seen at this level
Although I've been groundhopping in the Midlands for over four years now, today's match would be the first United Counties League ground I'd get to visit and after Dynamo started their league campaign last weekend with a 5-0 demolition job on Northampton Old Northamptonian Chenecks (yup, I checked and they definitely do have Northampton twice in their own name!), the home side for today's match would be hoping to continue off the back of that success as they welcomed Maltby Main, a side who play in the same league as my hometown club Bridlington Town. My money for the game was on the visiting side and I opted for a 3-1 away win, a prediction solely made on the basis that one of my former Macc Town favourites was playing up top for the Yorkshire side. Waide Fairhurst may well have put a bit of timber on since he was scoring halfway line volleys in the Conference in 2015, but the lad must still have a goal or two in him, right?

This lad will certainly hope not
The hosts got things started with an early goal, managing an opener inside the opening 12 minutes with a great strike from John King- the forward gave it his all with a fine solo run before unleashing a tasty strike into the top corner. Dynamo 1-0 Maltby. The next goal would also be scored by a King, this time in the Gavin variety, and it would come from the spot as a Maltby equaliser came just before the half hour mark. Maltby's striker stood firm, ran up and coolly dispatched the spot kick to ensure this was very much going to be a closely fought contest. Dynamo 1-1 Maltby. This turn in the tide would mean that the play shifted to the advantage of the visiting side, but in fairness the Ref did seem to let them off lightly on one or two fouls against Dynamo players. The ultra to my left screeched out "I'd get ten years for that if I did that to someone in town", but in fairness the lad looked like he'd just been released.

Joking aside, his chanting was top draw!
Back on the field it was almost half-time and I was pleased to see my man Fairhurst get a goal that would see his side take the lead just before the break- and the former Donny Rovers forward couldn't have picked a better time to get it. Dynamo 1-2 Maltby. The disgruntled home fans made their way into the bar for a halftime pick me up and I joined them too as I made my final observations on the Dovecoat. It was a basic and small bar, but certainly had all of the necessities to please your average fan, with a couple of choices of beer and Sky Sports News on the TV to make the fifteen minute break fly by. Despite the scoreline so far, the contest was still very much an open book and I spoke to an old fan who suggested the next goal would decide the result. I asked him if he'd go to a replay in Maltby and he simply shook his head and returned to his bag of cheese and onion crisps. I forget that not all football fans are mentalists who travel up to Yorkshire for a midweek away day.

Having said that, it's never stopped me
In the second half we'd see chances at both ends but ultimately it wasn't until the final fifteen minutes or so that the key moments would take place. In the meantime, I hopped over to the Dynamo Diner and grabbed myself a tray of chips- which may or may not have come with a free burger courtesy of the delightful kitchen staff. With lunch consumed, I made my way behind the Maltby goal and found myself hoping to see the hosts grab the equaliser they'd battled for since the break. It eventually came in dramatic fashion as captain Jake Betts chested the ball in the box before flopping to the floor to hit home an acrobatic volley. Dynamo 2-2 Maltby. Now into the last ten, the Miners' subs were looking to make the difference and that's exactly what happened as one of them grabbed a late goal from a good Maltby break. Surely this would be the end of the action... or not. Dynamo 2-3 Maltby.

The Dynamo lads had only just got back level
And things would go from bad to worse for the weary Shepshed players as they conceded a second penalty of the afternoon in stoppage time. Another bench boy had his chance to shine and did so from the spot by hitting home the sixth and final goal of the game, practically upon the final whistle. Dynamo 2-4 Maltby. The hopeful replay scenario that had seemed likely for all of three minutes had all of a sudden disappeared and that, as they say, is the magic of the cup. On a day where Sporting Khalsa had beat Rugby Town 5-4 and Harrogate Railway Athletic had been thumped 10-1 at home, this result wasn't as emphatic or exciting as some of the ones up and down the country, however it was still a roller-coaster ride for those of us in attendance and a game that I'd thoroughly enjoyed- and when all is said and done, how often can you say you've had a lovely afternoon full of gusty Butthole action? (Sorry, I had to get one joke in there before the end!)

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