Oadby Town capitalised on second-half mistakes by Kimberley Miners Welfare to win this Emirates FA Cup preliminary round tie 2-0.
This is only the second time Kimberley Miners Welfare have been in the famous competition and chairman Neil Johnson described the game as 'our Cup final'.
Despite both clubs’ perfect league starts, the focus was very much on the Cup and the vital cash injection a win would bring. Steve Hobster, general manager of Kimberley, emphasised their small budget and Johnson revealed the potential £2,890 that would come with victory would be spent on a new lawnmower.
- Emirates FA Cup
- Preliminary Round
- Saturday 25 August
- The Stag Ground
- Winners: £2,890, losers: £960
After the game, manager Luke Humphreys felt they were unlucky to not be two or three goals up early on. This might have been an optimistic assessment, but they did look good with Jonathon Jebbison gliding down the right and Isaac Minott’s strength up front. It was just the final product that was lacking.
The second half saw a visible increase in intensity that’s often reserved for the Emirates FA Cup. The tackles seemed harder and the shouts louder.
Again, it was Jebbison causing problems for Oadby. In the 50th minute he broke down the right with a skilful run. As he entered the box, he seemed to be pulled back by an Oadby defender and eventually went down under a challenge. The Kimberley manager made it known to everyone what he thought. Speaking afterwards, he said he wanted a penalty for the pull back, not the tackle.
It felt like this could have been the defining moment in the game, but that came 20 minutes later. Jebbison attempted a one-two with Minott but his pass was blocked. Oadby Town broke quickly but Mason Brown failed to take the ball round the Kimberley goalkeeper. Fortunately for Oadby, the rebound fell to Sam Hollis who finished over the head of the Kimberley defender on the line.
The goal didn’t kill the game and almost immediately Kimberley won a penalty through Minott, who was brought down in the six-yard box.
Greg Tobin’s resulting spot kick was a perfect height to the right of the Oadby goalkeeper who made a comfortable save. Humphreys said after that he expected his side to go on and win the game if they’d scored the penalty.
The tempo slowed as the game entered its closing stages. In the 80th minute Oadby and Hollis got their second to seal the tie. Hollis picked up a loose ball and lobbed the out-of-position Kimberley goalkeeper from 30 yards.
Oadby were deserving of their win. Their manager admitted that he gave his players a rollicking at half-time and it clearly paid off.
Paul Melrose, an Oadby Town fan of 20 years, is now dreaming of Sunderland in a potential first round tie.
And what about Kimberley?
"There’s always another day," said Johnson. "We’ll be playing next week” and of course there’ll always be next year."