Graves buoyant after Vase win

Andy Graves oversaw a 5-1 win over a side from two divisions higher last weekend.

Andy Graves oversaw a 5-1 win over a side from two divisions higher last weekend.

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Hucknall Town boss Andy Graves was full of praise for his players after they thrashed Midland League side Rocester in the FA Vase last weekend.

Rocester ply their trade two levels higher than the Yellows yet were put to the sword in convincing style, the 5-1 win at Watnall Road achieved thanks to a high tempo performance from the home side.

That result has set up a blockbuster tie at home to AFC Mansfield in the next round on December 3, and Graves can’t wait.

He said: “It’ll be a great occasion given the connections between the two clubs. Their captain Chris Timons was our skipper when we got to the FA Trophy final at Villa Park back in 2003 and there are a good few people with links to both clubs.

“So hopefully we’ll get a big crowd down at Watnall Road for what will be a great occasion. Mansfield started life in the CML and got promoted through the divisions once they’d got out of it, which is something I see us being able to do if we can rise out of what is a very difficult league to gain promotion from.”

With regard to last Saturday’s win, Graves says that at no point were his side fazed by the fact they were playing a team from two levels higher.

He said: “Rocester had quite a different side out to that I saw in a cup tie at Heanor a few weeks ago but their style of play was pretty obvious given they had a lot of big lads in there and were keen to loft the ball forward at every opportunity.

“We, on the other hand, like to get it down and play and in the end they couldn’t cope with us.

“We got two goals in quick succession and I think Rocester’s heads visibly dropped after that. Then in the second-half we did what we often do with a lead like that and let them have a bit more possession with the intention of catching them on the counter, and that’s pretty much what happened.

“We were disappointed ot concede at the end because they’d rarely troubled us up to that point, but it was down to a slip and these things happen.”

Despite having four games in hand on current CML South leaders Selston, and with a ten-point deficit to make up, Hucknall don’t now have another league game until December 10 when they go to South Normanton FC.

This weekend they will host local rivals Linby in the CMFL Challenge Cup, before a blank weekend follows on November 26/27.

Graves said: “It’s a bit frustrating to have a lack of league games scheduled given the matches we have in hand but with only 28 league games to play this year it’s perhaps not a huge problem yet.

“We may end up with a bit of a backlog later on but in the past we’ve coped quite well with playing catch-up.

“I’ll use the Linby game to rotate the squad a bit and give game time to some of those who haven’t featured as much in recent weeks, as it’s important we keep as many players as fresh as possible for when they may be needed.”