Town’s F A Cup run in the 2011/12 season was now really grabbing everyone’s attention, and after the epic ten goal thriller in Staffordshire which was featured last week Town and Newcastle met again for the replay three days later at the DCS.
Amazingly it was yet another goal fest with another eight to make it eighteen in total over the two games with this time Ben Mackey emulating Newcastle’s Anthony Malbon by hitting five on his own.
And unlike Malbon in the original tie he was on the winning side as Town progressed into the Second Qualifying Round where their reward was a daunting away tie at mighty Stafford Rangers.
Read how they fared in that one next week, but for now here’s the report on the second action packed encounter with Newcastle who had come so close to winning the original tie but who were now simply blown away by Town’s and particularly Mackey’s clinical finishing.
A MACKEY MASTERCLASS DESTROYS NEWCASTLE AND SENDS TOWN INTO THE NEXT ROUND
Stratford Town – 6 – Mackey (5) 2, 20, 37, 49 & 81 Beckley 39 Newcastle Town – 2 – Lane 55 Malbon 86
After Saturday’s collector’s item of a scoreline – according to Club historian Alan Hawkins the last time Town drew 5-5 in a League or Cup match was back in September 1952 – it was surely too much to ask for more of the same in Tuesday evening’s replay at the DCS.
But amazingly it was another goal fest with Ben Mackey equalling Anthony Malbon’s Saturday feat by banging in five as Town overwhelmed their Staffordshire visitors with the game being effectively decided by the interval when Town had raced to a four goal lead with a scintillating first half display.
Town’s starting line-up showed two changes from Saturday with Adam Cooper replacing Ross Brown in the backline and Nick Pollard coming in for the injured Nathan Edgington.
For Newcastle both Dave Harper and Leon Ashman who came on as half time substitutes on Saturday kept their places, while Ryan Connor was preferred to Jack Harrison in midfield.
Mykel Beckley had turned in a Man of the Match performance for Town on Saturday when he terrorised the Newcastle defence with his pace down the left as he helped himself to a first half hat-trick, and he was in the same devastating form here straight from the kick-off.
Barely a minute had been played when he sprinted past James Askey with his cross being put behind for a corner from which Danny Haynes’ header was deflected away for another corner.
Taken by Mark Faulds on the left it was spilled by keeper Dave Dyson and turned in by Mackey to give Town exactly the start they wanted.
Clearly stunned by this early setback Newcastle struggled to make any impact apart from a couple of free kicks. With Beckley continuing to threaten whenever he got the ball and Mackey exuding class with his instant control of the ball and his ability to make the perfectly weighted pass Town were well on top.
And they deservedly went two up in the 20th minute when for the umpteenth time Beckley ghosted past the hapless Askey and lobbed the ball across to the far post where it was neatly headed back by Pollard for the predatory Mackey to fire past Dyson from close in.
With dangerman Malbon being tightly marked by Cooper and hardly being allowed a meaningful kick Newcastle offered little up front and it continued to be all Town.
Skipper Sam Alsop was bossing midfield and set up a chance for Beckley only for his effort to be well held by Dyson, and soon after Mackey charged down an attempted clearance by Dave Whittaker with the loose ball falling to Beckley whose shot on the turn beat Dyson but fizzed inches wide.
A teasing cross from the left by Alsop was then just out of the stretching Pollard’s reach before Town made it three on 37 minutes, and again it was down to poor handling by the unfortunate Dyson.
Nothing much seemed on as he came out to the edge of the penalty area to collect a hopeful through ball from Pollard, but he inexplicably fumbled it into the path of Mackey who turned and exquisitely chipped it over the stranded keeper into the empty net.
What a sensational way to complete a 35 minute hat-trick.
And it got even worse for Newcastle two minutes later as the busy Pollard – who was enjoying easily his best game yet in a Town shirt – threaded the ball through to Beckley who had moved inside and he outpaced a couple of covering defenders to coolly slot it past the advancing Dyson to give Town a surely unassailable four goal interval lead.
Even by the standards of this wildly unpredictable cup tie it seemed that there could be no way back for Newcastle, but they came out in determined mood after the break. Askey was soon replaced by Harrison as they switched to only three at the back but before the change had had time to work their task became virtually impossible as they went five behind.
This time Ricky Baker was the provider with a though pass down the inside left channel. Beckley was in an offside position but he sensibly made no attempt to play the ball and instead it was seized on by Mackey – who was clearly onside – and he surged into the penalty area to unerringly shoot past the helpless Dyson.
Shortly after Newcastle pulled a goal back when Jack Lane headed in from a right wing corner, and on the hour mark it was Lane again who tried his luck with a rasping effort from 25 yards which was deflected behind off Haynes.
By now Newcastle had all three of their substitutes on, and for a while they had their best spell of the game. Malbon at last escaped from Cooper’s clutches to test Richard Morris with a fiercely struck shot from distance, and with a quarter of an hour left he pounced on a misdirected header from Faulds to hit a screamer from 25 yards which was acrobatically tipped over by Morris at full stretch.
But Town and Mackey were not finished yet, and it was six for Town and five for Mackey with ten minutes to go.
And the move started with a Newcastle free kick on the right which was comfortably collected by Morris who intelligently threw it out to Pollard on the right. With most of the Newcastle players having piled forward for the free kick Pollard was able to sprint the length of the pitch before squaring the ball across the six yard box for Mackey who was never going to miss from there.
Shortly after Mackey was withdrawn and went off to a rapturous reception not only from the Town supporters but also from the rest of his team-mates as well.
To their credit Newcastle kept going to the end with Morris pulling off another spectacular save to keep out a Lane thunderbolt and Malbon finally getting on the scoresheet by prodding home from a couple of yards out after Town had made a mess of dealing with a corner from the left.
So after two breathless games in which 18 goals had been scored with 16 coming from Malbon, Mackey and Beckley between them it is Town who progress to face Stafford Rangers in the next round. The Rangers were relegated from the Bet Square Bet North last season and are currently 16th in the Premier Division of the Evo-Stik Northern League – two levels above Town.
And intriguingly their manager and most of their players only moved there from Newcastle in the summer.
But if Town can conjure up a repeat of this evening’s performance there must be every possibility that they come back from the Rangers’ Marston Road ground with another positive result to keep their Cup run going.
TOWN : Morris, Faulds, Baker, Alsop, Haynes, Cooper, Reynolds (Holford 75), Herlihy, Mackey (Thompson 83), Beckley (Murphy 66), Pollard. Unused Subs – M Fellows, Brown & Cross (GK)
NEWCASTLE : Dyson, Askey (Harrison 48), Lane, Harper, Whittaker, Connor, Diskin (Blake 61), Macpherson, Ashman, Malbon, Carter (Daniels 51). Unused Subs – Bradbury & Price.
Attendance – 211
Marstons Town Man of the Match – Ben Mackey
The View From The Dug-Out – Morton Titterton is a happy man
“I really enjoyed that !! They are from a higher level than us and we completely outplayed them. Ben Mackey was simply different class, but it wasn’t all a one man show as Nick Pollard, Mykel Beckley and Sam Alsop also stood out for me in a tremendous team performance. We were worthy winners and I’m absolutely delighted.”
Match Stats by Rod Abrahams
Town – GA 13 OT 9 HW 0 CW 5 FC 10 OS 2 YC 0 RC 0
Newcastle – GA 13 OT 7 HW 0 CW 13 FC 9 OS 3 YC 1 RC 0
Town Yellow Cards – None
Newcastle Yellow Cards – Diskin
Match Report by Bryan Hale