Brave Hucknall Town get their FA Vase fingers Byrne-d

James Reddingham is unable to stop Desborough adding a third
James Reddingham is unable to stop Desborough adding a third

Key absences and clinical finishing combined to condemn plucky HUCKNALL TOWN to an FA Vase fall at the first hurdle.

Despite their illustrious pedigree, Hucknall went into the First Round tie at home to Northamptonshire outfit Desborough Town as underdogs.

And because Desborough, of the United Counties League (UCL), play two levels higher on the official non-league ladder, The Yellows needed to be at full strength.

However, midfielder Mark Smith and defender Tom Crisp were ruled out and while another influential midfield man, Leon Aikman, returned after injury, he was forced to deputise for Crisp at left-back.

Desborough took full advantage with a 3-1 victory, despite a brave performance by The Yellows.

And the main difference between the two sides was finishing, which visiting striker Michael Byrne got off to a fine art.

Byrne had been earmarked by Hucknall boss Andy Graves as the player most likely to cause his side problems. And he was duly on target as early as the fifth minute when running on to a sliced clearance by centre-back Cameron Davidson that fortuitously fell into his path and chipping hesitant ‘keeper James Beddingham.

The Yellows responded well and equalised in the 17th minute when John Whetton cut inside from the right and curled a delightful 20-yarder into the net.

And as the half went on, the visitors became increasingly ragged and anxious, with Eugene Francis getting lots of joy down the left. Francis twice saw shots fly just wide, while several Hucknall corners were scrambled clear.

Desborough were always looking for long balls into the channels where Byrne relieved the pressure magnificently, showing all his quality and experience. When he won a free-kick, the ball was driven in for Mark Forbes to nip between Tristan Spencer and Sam Sims to restore Desborough’s lead with a bullet header.

Hucknall again rolled up their sleeves. But the killer third goal came just 13 minutes into the second period -- and again Byrne was behind it.

This time, he fastened on to another long punt, poked the ball past defender Josh Henry and used his pace to set up a one-on-one in which Beddingham was found wanting. As the goalie stopped, Byrne rolled the ball past him.

To their credit, Hucknall continued to press, with Sims and Francis bringing good saves from the ‘keeper, and the last 15 minutes might have been interesting if the referee had agreed with shouts for a penalty for handball.

But their hopes of a moneyspinning Vase run were extinguished as Desborough claimed their third Nottinghamshire scalp of the competition after defeating Radford and Teversal in earlier rounds.

They now move into Leicestershire where Blaby And Whetsone, of the East Midlands Counties League, are their Round Two opponents.

As for The Yellows, they now face two matches against Southwell City -- back in Central Midlands League action this Saturday before a Notts FA Senior County Cup, Second Round tie on 2nd November.