Town draw blank in first FA Cup clash

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WITH no Premier League games scheduled and most international matches played the night before, Saturday September 3 was designated Non-League Day across the UK.

An ideal time, thought the organisers, to get out and support your local, non-league team.

Sadly, those who took up the option in Hucknall and made the journey to Watnall Road did not quite get what those organisers had in mind.

Because Town’s offering was a drab, goalless draw that threatened to derail their latest FA Cup campaign before it had left he traps.

After last season’s relegation, The Yellows found themselves in the Preliminary Qualifying Round for the first time for many years — with the prospect of four more rounds before the chance to rub shoulders with Football League clubs in the First Round proper.

Given that they were drawn at home to a Holbeach United side who play a level lower, in the Premier Division of the United Counties League, they were expected to progress with comfort.

So, it was a disappointment to fans that they laboured so badly against their ordinary visitors and were forced into a trip to Lincolnshire on Wednesday night for a replay.

Town were particularly ineffective in the first half when struggling to string any kind of moves together on a dreadful Watnall Road surface.

Not until the 36th minute did they create a worthwhile chance — Nathan Watson heading down for striker Grant Ryan, whose half-volley flew wide.

And it wasn’t until the hour mark, when substitute Nick Ghislanzoni replaced Carl Westcarr to provide some much-needed height up front, did The Yellows give the Holbeach defence much to worry about.

And not until as late as the 80th minute was visiting goalkeeper Leigh Overton forced into a save as he blocked with his legs a shot to the near post by midfielder Watson after a brilliant turn in the box.

Overton proved his worth again in the dying minutes when pulling off a tremendous save to foil the best chance of the match. He threw himself full-length to his right to keep out an effort by Ghislanzoni after substuitute Mathieu Isamene had delivered an inch-perfect cross.

The miss capped a decidedly frustrating afternoon for the home side, whose only consolation was a second successive clean sheet, achieved with the help of a return to the backline by skipper Wayne Diuk.

TOWN are appealing for qualified first-aid volunteers to help them out on matchdays at Watnall Road.

The volunteers, who must hold a first-aid certificate, will gain free admission to all home games. Anyone interested should ring the club’s ground safety supervisor John Coleman on 07904 020681.