Bracken Moor – Stocksbridge Park Steels

2 Oct

Stocksbridge Park Steels – 3

Colwyn Bay – 1

FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round – 1st October 2011

Ah the FA Cup, still the most magical of competitions despite Premier League’s top and terrible teams attempts to sabotage the competition. I am a huge fan of it, for one reason and one reason only – the chance of getting one of the big names in the later rounds.

Unfortunately, it’s something that Colwyn Bay doesn’t really have, as the pedigree of the Seagulls to reach the later rounds is average – only reaching the second round proper once in it’s history – losing to Blackpool. Furthermore, our recent record in the FA Cup has been nothing short of dismal, losing 4-3 to Bamber Bridge and 4-1 to St Helens being two horrendous results. In fact, in my time of watching Colwyn Bay in the late 90’s and mid-to-late 00’s, I can only remember us advancing twice. Reaching the 4th Qualifying Round before losing 5-0 to Barrow 4 years ago, and beating Marine after a replay last year before losing to a very good Guiseley.

The first Phallic Step on the Road to Wembley

Following our promotion to the Conference North, Colwyn Bay enter the competition a round later, in the 2nd Qualifying Round. As such, we were now one of the big guns in the round, prime for a “cupset”, which has seemed to enter the footballing lexicon recently. It was with baited breath and a stupidly unproductive morning that I waited for the draw. We were treated to a visit away (good for me, not so much the club) at either Armthorpe Miners Welfare or Stocksbridge Park Steels. I was hopeing for a vist ot Armthorpe, but they lost to Stocksbridge, meaning we were off to one of the few away trips I never made last year, Stocksbridge Park Steels.

The reason why was that Stocksbridge doesn’t have any sort of railway station, so instead I had to buy a ticket to the fantastically named Penistone (pronounced Penniston, you filthy minded people), and then get a taxi from the station to the ground. A ground that nobody knew existed. After a trek down country lanes with a taxi driver who’d never been to Stockbridge we ended up in Bracken Moor, more specifically the Miners Arms pub next to the ground, for a couple of ales.

Stocksbridge, with 25% less stands.

Whilst the ground was one of the most remote I’ve visted, it’s more than made up for it with the incredible views. The views from the pub were incredible over the ground and then the dales. It was fantastic that the weather was amazing, with mid to high 20’s and beaming sunshine.

After a few ales we entered the ground and were treated to more views. Bracken Moor has a large clubhouse at one side of the ground, no stand due to a cricket pitch next door, and a fairly big stand on the other side. Towards the back of the ground there was a grassy bank which beamed in sunshine, and a small stand behind the other goal. It was probably one of the most picturesque grounds I’ve been to. It was stunning.

Colwyn Bay dominated the opening 30 minutes.

The game kicked off with Colwyn Bay pressing hard. This game had a potential of an upset, and Colwyn Bay for the first 10-15 minutes pressing hard, with Stocksbridge barely leaving their box. The breakthrough for Colwyn Bay came on the 14th minute, with Bradley Barnes taking the ball from 30 yards out and rifling the ball into the top right hand corner, in an early contender for goal of the season. Colwyn Bay pressured again for a second, but the defensive errors that plagued our game began to creep in. On the 30th minute, Stocksbridge equalised with a great strike into the bottom corner from Chris Adam orchestrated by my man of the match Jack Muldoon. Jack Muldoon was left clear on the stroke of half time and struck a well taken goal into the top corner to make it 2-1 to the underdogs.

Why I love Non League

This effectively killed the game, as Colwyn Bay for the second half had plenty of posession and corners, but in front of about 7 or 8 usually. Colwyn Bay didn’t threaten, and even with an introduction of Danny Lloyd and Rob Hopley late on couldn’t get any thing. The referee waved away a penalty shout when Danny Lloyd was tripped in the area, and immediately after Stocksbridge got a penalty of their own, converted by Mark Ward.

All in all, Stocksbridge converted their chances, Colwyn Bay didn’t. After wishing the Yorkshiremen well in the next round, we headed home, where gorgeous sunsets were the order of the day, and probably produced the best photos for the game.

The sun sets on another FA Cup Campaign

About Rhys Wynne

Rhys Wynne is the editor & creator of You're Supposed To Be At Home. For his sins, he is a Colwyn Bay & Liverpool fan, and a serial blog creator. You can follow Rhys on twitter here.

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