Nicholson at the double as Ambers progress in League Cup
The Ambers beat Yorkshire Amateur 2-1 to reach the Third Round of the NCEL League Cup ....
The Ambers made the long midweek trip up to Leeds to face league leaders Yorkshire Amateur in a re-playing of the League Cup tie first played back in September, the result of which was expunged after the referee incorrectly refused to play extra time after a 2-2 draw and went straight to penalties.
To put the record straight, neither club contested the result but nonetheless, the League decided that the game should be re-played. Given both sides are aiming for promotion, the game could have been seen as an un-needed sideshow to the main event, and both Managers chose to rotate their squads, each retaining just three starters from their Saturday line ups.
For The Ambers there were two debutants in the shape of Callum Geelan and Harry Mitchell, whilst Jake Lancini took his place between the sticks for the first time since the final game of the 2015-16 season. There was also a welcome return to action for Lee Hill after missing the last seven weeks with injury.
In an even opening fifteen minutes, both sides looked neat in possession and there was plenty of endeavour across the pitch, with Jake Currie going closest with a good header which went just the wrong side of the post. Mitchell, who was showing up well, then made a good interception before shooting wide from distance, as The Ambers started to dominate proceedings.
The Ammies then showed some good intent down the right, with Charlton curling a shot wide of the far post, and on 27 minutes, the home side took the lead against the run of play when the ever-dangerous Flynn fired a free kick in off the post, with Lancini stranded.
The goal was tough on The Ambers who had played well thus far and they spent the next ten minutes re-gaining the upper hand with some lovely patterns of play, culminating in them drawing level after 37 minutes, when a recycled corner picked out Brad Nicholson at the far post. After his first effort was kept out by Bojang, the in-form left back fired home the rebound for a third goal in his last three games. On the stroke of half time, The Ambers were unlucky not to take the lead when Hill’s header hit the far post and bounced to safety.
It was the home side who had the first opportunity in the second period when Flynn raced clear of Hill but fired his shot into the side netting, and the same player was then denied by some great covering from Lee Cooksey.
The Ambers, employing a high pressing game, were soon back in the ascendancy and Mitchell, Hill and Currie all had attempts on goal either saved or just off target, but on the hour, Nicholson was on hand yet again as he headed in a corner from Ben Partridge.
Immediately, the impressive pair of debutants were replaced by Ollie Yates and Jamie Green as Steve Istead went for experience to help close out the game. The Ambers continued to pour forward with Danny Deakin in particular, catching the eye, and the hardworking Currie ran himself into the ground with a selfless performance. Ten minutes from time, Green intercepted the ball on the halfway line and raced towards the Ammies goal but Bojang was equal to his strike, and then saved Currie’s tired follow up.
With Moke now on and pulling the strings in midfield, the hosts started to push hard for a late equaliser but their last chance came and went when Flynn, having raced clear, blasted his effort wide, and The Ambers saw the game out with no further scares to deservedly progress to Round 3.