Reserve Team Star
Aug 10, 2019, 6:48 PM
Team(s): Norwich City, Yaxley
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Holbeach United 2 Fakenham Town 0
Admission: £7, Programme: £1 (a mediocre effort, not even stapled together)
Attendance: 100 h/c
Holbeach immediately started on the front foot with two chances in the opening five minutes of this tie: first, Jack Smith won a 50/50 outside a box and passed to Will Bird, who curled a shot well over from just outside the box; the second chance saw Jonny Lockie ride a tackle into the box before shooting low, with Fakenham keeper Tom Coombe saving with his legs. The home side continued to push and had another chance in the 9th minute, Ryan Oliver somehow getting a shot away whilst surrounded by defenders, with Coombe saving well. Two minutes later, Fakenham had their first decent chance, utilising the wind to play a deep free kick into the box, with Ben Darby getting on the end of it with a tame header. Despite that brief respite for the away side, Holbeach continued to control the game and push to score, with Oliver having another excellent chance in the 14th minute: a free kick was played to the far post and looped over Coombe but not in, with Oliver attempting to tap-in at the near post but blocked by defenders.
In the 20th minute, though, Holbeach's domination finally yielded results as Jack Smith scored: a Fakenham corner was cleared and quickly turned into a counter-attack, with a cross-field pass from Oliver giving Smith the space to shoot from outside the box and score. After this, Holbeach calmed down and became less aggressive in the attack, opting to focus on controlling proceedings instead. To a degree, this gave Fakenham openings to get back into the game, but the home side had that extra bit of nous to maintain control and restrict the away side to half chances. Things then got worse for the away side when Holbeach doubled their lead on 39 minutes, Spencer Tinkler effortlessly poking a shot under Coombe to score. 2-0 at half-time.
Other than a frantic opening five minutes, in which Holbeach attempted to make full use of the wind and extend their lead, the second half was much quieter than the first, with Holbeach content to control the game against a Fakenham side who were trying to come back but simply lacked the quality to break through. Still, with Holbeach dropping another gear from the first half, Fakenham started to impact proceedings and create a few chances of their own: the best of these came in the 54th minute when a Ben Darby through ball set George Whitmore through to shoot first time, with Ricky Drury calmly saving the effort. The rest of the half largely consisted of Fakenham attempting to push and either breaking through (albeit very rarely) or losing the ball and allowing Holbeach to counterattack, with most of these also ending unsuccessfully.
Overall, despite Fakenham's best efforts to get back into the game in the second half, the tie was virtually over by half-time, which meant that the second half wasn't overly exciting to watch from a neutral perspective. Still, the first half was reasonable entertainment even if it was very one-sided. It was also good to see that the wind didn't affect proceedings too much, with both teams keen to play the ball on the floor as much as possible. So, not a classic FA Cup tie by any means, but absolutely not a terrible one either.
The ground is slightly better than the average at Step 5, with a small area of covered standing behind each goal, a 200-seater main stand (and not an Arena one for once) and another covered standing area next to that.
2019/20 stats (including Pre-Season):
New Grounds: 19 (Most Recent: Marlow)
Goals Per Game (to 2 dp): 3.43
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