By Lucas Monk
Dynamo have good reason to be confident about their chances of progressing through the extra preliminary round of the world’s oldest cup competition. They made a blistering start to the new campaign with a resounding 5-0 home defeat of Northampton ON Chenecks last Saturday.
It was a victory that Damion Beckford-Quailey’s side richly deserved. They were rapier-like in the final third, and perforated the opposition defence with ease, and players such as Liam Hurst, John King and Matt Melbourne added a piquant edge to their attacking play.
Shepshed, though, were perhaps expected to worst the Chens in any case. The result was hardly a fait accompli, and they still had to work hard and create space and convert chances, but when captain Jake Betts hammered them into the lead early on there was only going to be one winner.
Maltby Main, prima facie, should prove a more stern form of opposition. The South Yorkshire side, based in the borough of Rotherham, posted an impressive finish of sixth last season in the Northern Counties East League (NCEL). They enjoyed an eventful start to the new campaign by eliminating a 2-0 deficit to salvage a draw at home to Liversedge with both sides having been reduced to ten men.
The Miners carry a clear threat in the form of Waide Fairhurst. The creative forward previously played for the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Macclesfield Town and Lincoln City. He is a proven marksman at non-league level and his signing appears to be a real coup for Maltby. Dynamo would do their chances no harm by negating his attacking influence.
Shepshed will be keen to avenge last year’s early exit from the competition. They lost a frenetic replay to Worksop Town, then themselves members of the NCEL, 5-4 at The Dovecote. They may well have to replicate their strong defensive showing from last week; they did not concede a single shot on target.
The winner of this tie will face a home match in the next round against Loughborough University or Ilkeston Town. A compelling contest is in prospect, and it would be fitting if there were to be a healthy crowd in attendance to marvel at the magic of the cup.
Did you know? Fred Trueman, a cricketer for Yorkshire and England who later became a popularly acclaimed author, grew up in Maltby. He was the first bowler to take 300 wickets in a test career, and is generally considered one of the finest bowlers in the game’s history. (No, we can’t bring him back for The Ashes. Unfortunately.)