What a night for Swallownest at the Fairfax Plant Hire Stadium last night, as they battled through to the semi-finals of the NCEL League Cup after a 4-2 win, on penalties over Selby Town after the tie had finished 1-1 after ninety minutes. With Liversedge, Hemsworth Miners Welfare and the winners of the last quarter final between Staveley Miners Welfare and Worksop Town going into the metaphorical hat for the draw, the ten-man Division One side did it the hard way at Richard Street – but were absolutely delighted by the outcome, writes Colin Muncie.
Watched by an excellent crowd of 163, the visitors set off at a fast pace , with Alex Lill, Nathan Morritt and Josh Statham all going close with headers before a lovely move involving Lill at Ash Cooper saw Nathan Morritt heading home a fine cross from the defender after 37 minutes . As expected, the home side upped their tempo in the second half, with Josh Lill in fine form between the sticks for Swallownest, and his brother going close at the other end. It was end to end stuff, but with just two minutes of normal time left, the Robins levelled through a superb goal from Liam Flanagan. Selby pushed for a normal time winner, to no avail, but were handed a numerical advantage towards the end of the first period of extra time when Dan Short saw red for bringing down Gary Collier who was through on goal. Cooper went close in the second period, but Swallownest also had Mitch Kent to thank for a superb goal line clearance from the dangerous Collier to keep Swallownest level.
It finished 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes, so the tie went to penalties. Both sides scored their first kicks-Hutton for Selby and Lill for Swallownest, but after Josh Lill had superbly saved the second Robins kick, Morritt edged Selby ahead. The sides exchanged successful kicks (Flanagan for Selby, Statham for the visitors) before Selby missed again, leaving Ollie Grady to clinch a memorable win for Swallownest and spark respectful celebrations from the away side.
It’s fair to say that Swallownest’s Assistant Manager Joel Evans is happy with how things are going on and off the park at Rotherham Road. “The feel good factor at this club is immense at the minute” he told us “The desire and hard work that the lads are putting in is second to none. Yesterday we deserved it; I believe throughout the ninety minutes we created enough chances but didn’t take them; however when it came to penalties, we did.
“ To reach the semi- final at any level is a fantastic achievement “ Joel acknowledged “but do it in my first year in the management setup is even better. Jordan and I class last night as one the best, in terms of the way the game went; to concede late on, then go down to ten men and then win, says it all about us at the minute -that “never give up” attitude”.
Swallownest manager Jordan Stocks was happy to give his feedback to the Swallownest FC website and the Bootiful Game.” It’s good to speak following last night’s game” he told us “As in recent weeks we played very well again, retained the ball and played with a good tempo, but yesterday was all about one thing…. getting in the hat”.
“We made hard work of it, granted, but we got there.” Jordan admitted “We let Selby back into it and they took the opportunity; unfortunately it was the 88th minute, so we had to dig in and go again through extra time. It was good to see the togetherness and bravery of the side to dig in for one another and get what we deserved.
“So we look forward to the draw”