Right now, somewhere on the A1 (M) southbound is a coach headed for Hemsworth. On board are the players and supporters of Hemsworth Miners Welfare FC. Gathered round Chairman Richard Norman and Manager Wayne Benn, the passengers are sipping on their diet cokes and contemplating a Sudoku puzzle. enjoying a dull, quiet trip back to West Yorkshire after a pleasant day trip out in the North East.
Now just imagine the scene if Wells had just defeated ten-times FA Amateur Cup winners Bishop Auckland 3-2 at their Heritage Park home in the First Round proper of the Buildbase FA Vase. Surely even such a fantastic result is unlikely to leave Wayne’s glass just above half empty? Or in a hallucinatory state will he pour out the superlatives? Well, let’s do some digging, writes Colin Muncie for the Bootiful Game.
Nash Connolly put Wells in front after 18 minutes in front of the 327-strong crowd , but a penalty from Andrew Johnson (27 minutes) and Chris Winn’s 37th-minute strike looked like giving the Blues a half time advantage. Not so. Seon Ripley levelled with just two minutes left in the first half and the sides went into the break on level terms –and with ten minutes left, he struck again to send Wells into the Second Round.
Uncharacteristically, Wayne seemed to be quite pleased by the outcome. He told TBG “I’m so proud of my players tonight. We have gone to a famous Non-League club with players missing through injury and unavailability-we had 2 substitutes, neither of whom were fit and could only have gone on the pitch if required -and we have been magnificent. Not many would have fancied us today; certainly the bookies didn’t, and even more so when the teams were announced. But the togetherness, the spirit and the quality shone through and we were well worth the win in my opinion.
Wayne summed up a memorable afternoon “We took the lead, had a mad ten minutes, went 2-1 behind and showed character to go in at 2-2” he told us “We have to admit we had a large slice of luck when they missed a penalty but going in at 2-2 against a strong wind gave us a great chance. We had a chat- and a chance to regroup -and I thought we were fantastic in the second half and definitely deserved the win. I did wonder whether it would be ‘one of those days with three really good chances missed but the lads dug in and deserved to get the winner. We rode our luck in the last ten mins and needed a couple of good saves from Danny and some last ditch tackles from the back four”.
Cue a quick trip to the local off-license for a tray of soft drinks. “The lads know how to celebrate and the fans will help them” he warned “The bus journey home will be carnage, I’m sure and we will definitely enjoy tonight”.
“We’ve won -against the odds- and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone connected with Hemsworth MWFC.