An Emirates FA Cup Thriller on the Coast
It was chilly at New Linden Club, home of Cleethorpes Town, as everyone waited for the Second Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup to kick-off.
After a glorious summer, fans shivered as they waited to see if their team would progress to the next round. With just 180 seats available, it was great to see a crowd of 300 banging drums and hoping soon to be showing their support in thousand-seater stadiums.
Cleethorpes Town were FA Vase finalists in 2016-17 but, when it comes to the FA Cup, their greatest achievement was reaching the second round in 2014-15.
Bamber Bridge’s best performance in The FA Cup was back in 2000 when they reached the second round. Today, Brig fans travel 140 miles, a five-hour round trip, in the hopes they’ll follow their team further into the competition this season.
Cleethorpes Town’s manager, Marcus Newell, says that that's the beauty of the FA Cup, “Everyone loves the FA Cup, don’t they? So, it’s exciting. When the FA Cup rolls into town everybody’s up for it.”
The start of the game looked promising for Cleethorpes, with several attempts on goal very early on. They then took the lead in the 15th minute when Brody Robertson tucked the ball past Bamber Bridge's keeper.
Cleethorpes Town continued to dominate, and it took a further 17 minutes for Brig’s Brad Carsley to equalise. However, Robertson then quickly pulled the lead back in the 39th minute with his second goal and the hosts entered half time 2-1 up.
A goal from Josh Batty in the 59th minute saw Cleethorpes gain some breathing space, putting them 3-1 up. The beat of the drums increased in volume, and their excited fans seemed sure a win was in the bag.
After two late substitutions for Cleethorpes Town, Bamber Bridge’s Brad Carsley shocked the home side with two quickfire goals in six minutes to complete his hat-trick and level the scores at 3-3 making for a tense end to the game.
The teams will meet again on Tuesday for a replay. This time Cleethorpes will travel to Preston for the 7:45 pm kick-off. Newell said: “We’re not out of the tie yet. We’ve got to go up to their place and see how we go. I think we’ve got a chance.”