Emirates FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Saturday 30th September 2017
Leamington and Gainsborough Trinity were unable to use the FA Cup as a welcome distraction from their respective league positions as they played out an uninspiring stalemate at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, resulting in a long trip up to Lincolnshire for a replay on Tuesday night.
Paul Holleran named an unchanged starting eleven following last week’s first home win of the season against Bradford Park Avenue, with a strong looking substitutes bench.
Rob Thompson-Brown sent a free kick just past the post inside the opening two minutes as Brakes made inroads in their first attack. The visitors almost took advantage of hesitancy in the Brakes defence just after the fifteen minute mark as a free kick was headed just past the far post.
Neither side was able to build up a head of steam, the game constantly punctuated by the Referee’s whistle. Jack Edwards headed wide from Thompson-Brown’s left wing corner but there was very little quality on show, the ball spending most of the opening twenty minutes in the air.
Connor Gudger curled a free kick just over the bar after Joe Clarke was brought down on the edge of the box, but the first real moment of quality came eight minutes before the break when Henrich Ravas pulled off a cracking save from an equally good volley by Edwards that was heading for the top corner, the young Derby County loanee must have surely seen it late.
The game was becoming a little more stretched as half time approached, Kieran Dunbar firing a free kick into the arms of Ravas, while Jonathan Wafula won a free header from Craig King’s left wing centre, the ball dropping harmlessly past Tony Breeden’s far post.
Gainsborough began the second half with far more purpose but other than forcing a couple of corners they never seriously threatened the Leamington goal, Wafula shooting well wide from out on the right and another effort being deflected behind.
Ashley Worsfold finally tested the Brakes skipper with a well struck half volley as the ball dropped over his shoulder, Breeden pushing the ball out to his left. The pressure continued however, Gainsborough finally realising that they could cause more problems playing the ball straight into the box from corners, and they almost benefitted when Breeden missed his punch, Gudger getting there just in the nick of time to head the ball behind.
Substitute Kurtis Revan got the crowd going a little with a weaving run into the box, but was forced too wide for his shot to cause any damage. Trinity right back Josh Lacey then received the ball in a great area just inside the box on the right, but ballooned his shot well over the bar.
Wafula was then shown a straight red card after what looked like a late challenge on Junior English, taking an age to walk off to the dressing room. The Gainsborough bench were incandescent with rage not long afterwards when they were convinced that Edwards had struck Shane Clarke with an elbow as the two players went up for a challenge.
Trinity substitute Bradley Wells directed his header wide from Matty Taylor’s inswinging free kick, while Leamington sub Ahmed Obeng began to cause the visitors problems at the other end as time ticked away, but despite late pressure Leamington were unable to make their man advantage count, and while both teams will be in Monday’s 4th Qualifying Round draw, one will now have to suffer the agony of ‘what might have been’ after the replay.
Paul Holleran admitted ‘It wasn’t a great game. Gainsborough have changed their personnel since the start of the season and they are a very strong, big, direct outfit, they’re a big threat from set plays, and they certainly caused us a problem in the first half without there being any real chances. I think you’re only looking at two shots on target in the whole game - a fantastic one from their keeper in the first half and one from Tony in the second, and I think that sums the game up really. It was a tense occasion, a lot at stake. They’ve restricted us to very little and we have done the same, but then we haven’t had enough to go and ask enough questions at the other end. It was disappointing, because even in the draws we’ve had this season we’ve played with a plenty of endeavour and quality, but there were a few not quite at it today. On the other side of things we were solid, compact, we worked extremely hard. It looked like a 1-0 game. I thought maybe in the second half we might have stretched them a bit more when the substitutes went on, but credit to them, they’ve defended well. The FA Cup is never straightforward, we’re in the draw on Monday and we’ll go and try and put in another good away performance like we have done quite a few times this season, and see where it takes us.’
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, James Mace, Connor Gudger, Joe Clarke, Jamie Hood, Junior English, Kieran Dunbar (16 Ahmed Obeng, 77), Joe Magunda ( 15 Kurtis Revan, 67), Colby Bishop (14 Liam Canavan, 57), Jack Edwards, Rob Thompson-Brown.
Subs not used: 12 Richard Taundry, 17 Callum Gittings, 18 Stefan Moore.
Gainsborough Trinity: Henrich Ravas, Josh Lacey, Matty Taylor, Ioan Evans, Nathan Stanfield, Michael Jacklin, Jonathan Wafula, Shane Clarke, Nathan Jarman © (12 Bradley Wells, 79), Ashley Worsfold, Craig King.
Subs not used: GK Richard Walton, 15 Taron Hare, 16 Ben Gordon, 17 Ellis Storey.
Referee: Mr James Bell
Assistant Referees: Mr Jack Hall & Mr Drew Dutton
Brakes Man of the Match: Jamie Hood.