DELIGHTED Tommy Brookbanks saw his Hucknall Town side march through the Third Round of the Evo-Stik League Cup — and set up a romantic trip to his former club Carlton Town.
The Yellows dumped out big-spending Evo-Stik League, Premier Division rivals Worksop Town with a confident performance at Watnall Road on Tuesday night (January 18).
Goals from stand-in captain Martin Ball and ace marksman Tyeisse ‘TJ’ Nightingale secured a 2-0 win in front of a low crowd of 110.
The win and performance were the perfect response to Town’s insipid display in a 2-0 home league defeat to Northwich Victoria three days earlier.
Now Brookbanks is looking forward to a nostalgic trip back to Stoke Lane — where he was a highly successful boss for 14 years and more than 800 games — in the Fourth Round.
“I got a text from Carlton chairman Mick Garton last week,” said Brookbanks. “It said ‘make sure you beat Worksop’.
“I thought it was a bit of a funny message because I didn’t know at the time that we would be facing Carlton if we won.
“It will be a good game and I think we have got the beating of them. There will be no favours from us.”
The tie is on Wednesday February 9 (kick-off 7.45pm). Carlton, who have former Yellows Terry Hawkridge, Antwon Bonnick, Dan Fletcher, Curtis Shaw and Warren Hatfield in their ranks, won 3-2 at Hucknall’s divisional rivals Mickleover Sports in November to progress.
On paper, the clash with their former ground-share buddies Worksop looked a tough one. The Tigers are seventh in the Evo-Stik Premier with their sights set firmly on the play-offs.
Martin McIntosh’s side, who currently play at Retford United’s Cannon Park ground, have played only 18 league games this term, easily the least in the division, yet are still firmly in the play-off mix.
But they were made to look ordinary by The Yellows.
Brookbanks said: “It was a good performance from us. We dominated from start to finish and we could have scored more.
“It was the best response to the Northwich game. We had a good chat after that game and I’m pleased with the lads’ reaction.”
Brookbanks was without injured Grant Brindley and working duo Wayne Diuk and new signing Josh Burge. Bustling midfielder Burge (20) has been snapped up from Boston United.
Ball came in at centre-half and was “exceptional” according to Brookbanks. “It’s his best position really,” said Brookbanks.
Jared Holmes, Anthony Griffith Junior and Tris Whitman were left on the bench as Callum Lloyd made his first start and Rob Gill partnered Nightingale up front.
Sam Clare and David Boafo filled the full back slots and Dean Gent moved into midfield.
Ball opened the scoring on 23 minutes with a header from a right-wing free-kick. Nightingale made it two with a rocket shot from 12 yards on 65.
Next up for The Yellows is a trip to FC United of Manchester on Saturday (January 22) in league action. The Red Rebels play at Coca-Cola League Two side Bury’s Gigg Lane home.
Brookbanks said: “I really am looking forward to this one. It is winnable and the lads will thrive on the atmosphere and the surroundings.”