By Lucas Monk
Dynamo have struggled for form in the Midland Football League since their FA Vase exit at the hands of Hebburn Town last month. They have failed to win in any of their last five matches, and have drawn a blank in four of them. Back-to-back defeats against Stourport Swifts (2-0) and Romulus (1-0) have seen them lose ground at the top end of the division.
But as one cup in the FA Vase put Shepshed down, the Midland League Cup might hoist them back up. A victory here would give them a timely boost ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash with Sporting Khalsa.
This match will not be easy, though. A resurgent Long Eaton United are the visitors to The Dovecote. They have won their last four matches, and have secured impressive wins over promotion contenders Coventry Sphinx (4-0) and Sporting Khalsa (2-0). They also battled to a hard-fought win over Stourport (1-0) and defeated Quorn (3-1) having played the bulk of that match with a man fewer. The 2014-15 winners of this competition will be out to make things difficult for the hosts.
Shepshed also have history to contend with. Whilst their opponents have won the competition, they have not. The last time they reached the round of 16, three years ago, they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at home to lower league opponents in Nuneaton Griff. Their poor record in this competition in recent years gives them all the more reason to go all out for the victory.
Damion Beckford-Quailey’s side’s 2-0 home victory over United earlier in the campaign will give them confidence going into this game, as will their impressive home record throughout the season. They also displayed great resilience to roar back and claim a 3-3 draw at home to Lye Town a few weeks ago, showing that their poor form of late has not been down to a lack of passion or effort. But the visitors have markedly improved since that meeting at the end of November and will present a tough challenge.
The Blues will look to ex-Rugby forward Reuben Wiggins-Thomas, scorer of 18 goals this season, to provide a cutting edge as they seek a fifth win in a row. Dynamo, meanwhile, will hope that Matt Melbourne, their top scorer with 15 strikes to his name, can help them to a much-needed win.
Did you know? Nottingham Forest and Manchester United legend Garry Birtles, who twice won the European Cup and represented England on the international stage, began his senior football career with Long Eaton.
Updated 15:33 - 4 Feb 2019 by Shepshed Newsdesk