2011/12: FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round – Hemsworth Miners Welfare v Tadcaster Albion
It has been an unusual start to my “watching” season so far. I’ve already seen a Europa League Qualifying game in July and now in August, I’m about to see a game in the FA Cup! For the first time, I’ll be attending a fixture at the very beginning of the competition, the Extra Preliminary Qualifying Round. 763 teams will enter this years (Budweiser Sponsored) FA Cup, a little bit different to the 15 teams that entered the tournament for the Cup back in 1871. Wanderers were the first Cup Winners, beating Royal Engineers 1-0 at The Oval.
Budweiser marked their new sponsorship by streaming via Facebook, the Ascot United v Wembley FC game last night. The away team securing a 2-1 win with virtually the last kick of the game. My chosen destination today is the Fitzwilliam Stadium, home of Hemsworth Miners Welfare FC.
The Wells were formed in 1981, after Hemsworth Colliery FC was disbanded in 1980 after 60 years of existence. The new club began life in the 1981/82 season in Division Three of the Doncaster & District Senior League. The mid eighties saw the club have a significantly successful period with promotions beginning in 1985/86 and leading to reaching the Premier Division in 1987/88. In 1995/96 The Wells joined the West Riding County Amateur Football League and achieved a League and Cup “double” the following season. Hemsworth’s next change of League came in 2008/09 when they started life in the Northern Counties East League (NCEL) Division One, with the club finishing 10th on 50 points. 2009/10 saw The Wells finish 7th (55 points) and last season 16th (42 points).
So to the new season and Hemsworth’s opponents today in the FA Cup are Tadcaster Albion. Albion play in the league above The Wells in the Baris NCEL Premier Division. Yet, despite the difference in league status, there was a hint of an upset in the air, as Tadcaster came into the game having lost their opening two league fixtures, whilst Hemsworth had taken a maximum six points from their start to the campaign in Division One.
However, the Giant-killing act never looked likely to happen as Tadcaster pretty much dominated the game from start to finish. Albion hit the post midway through the first half and were further frustrated by a couple of excellent saves from Wells keeper Dale Walstow later in the half, which meant that the game was 0-0 at half-time.
The second half brought no respite for the home team and the inevitable happened on 67 minutes when Carl Stewart beat the offside trap and put the visitors into a 1-0 lead. Stewart killed off Hemsworth’s Cup dream less than 10 minutes later, when he unleashed a long range effort that evaded the despairing dive of Walstow. The Wells continued to press and did get a consolation goal with 7 minutes remaining from Andrew Hayward. However, an equaliser didn’t materialise and in truth Tadcaster deserved their 2-1 win to progress to the FA Cup Preliminary Round and a tie away to Pontefract Collieries in the first week of September.