Saturday 7th September
FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round
SELBY TOWN 0 FORMBY 5
Tea Hut Stuff: Crisps 30p
Parking: Rough & ready club car park
Weather: Mainly sunny, patchy cloud, slight chill second half
The great M62 decade long roadworks job creation scheme still hinders the worst motorway in Europe. Everytime I pass Junction 22 passport control on the Lancs / Yorkshire border I guarantee myself at least half an hours stationary boredom in grid-locked traffic. Today was no exception, particularly on the return trip. This intriguing FA Vase opener threw two sides together from the lower divisions of the Northern Counties East League and the North West Counties League.
Selby have fallen in form over recent seasons and already find themselves in the wrong half of Division 1. Formby however have exceeded the parameters normally associated with a side from the lower league of the NWCL. Last season they won the league title only for ground grading problems to deny them promotion to the Premier Division. They also got to the final of the NWCL Challenge Cup. The reputation that the club has built up is a deserved compliment to the open and entertaining football they purvey. The Selby ground has a charismatic if 'used' feel to it.
The main focus is the bench seated stand behind one of the goals with the large red letters spelling out where exactly you are. The touchline clubhouse and internal tea hut are directly adjacent to the turnstile entrance from the car park. This side of the pitch has some terracing and there is also a short stretch of bench seating directly in front of the clubhouse. Across the other side of the pitch are the changing rooms, dug outs and plenty of pitch length hard standing. This leads onto the far end which behind the goals has a small flat-pack type covered terrace. The stadium has a galvanised metal sheeting perimeter fence which does take the visual ambience down a few notches. Its a decent enough place though and I've certainly been on a lot of worse grounds than this one. It has a certain charm but its not pristine (if you know what I mean). The locals seem to like it as well.
This wasn't the best of games I'm afraid. The match was going nowhere until Formby won a very dodgy penalty just before the break. They gladly took a one nil lead but it had been more or less a scrappy 50/50 until then. The Referee and nearside linesman came in for some terrible stick from the home sides bench but to be honest the penalty was really harsh on Selby and I detected that it took the wind out of their sails, some of the players looked visibly demotivated at the injustice of it all.
Following the break Formby took Selby Town apart with the kind of open football that they have blessed the NWCL with these last couple of seasons, it was sublime stuff at times. They controlled the game for long periods and seemed to plough forward at will, without wishing to be disrespectful to Selby the final scoreline could have been far greater than 5-0. A special mention must be made regarding Luke Holden, not only did he knock in a hat trick his overall performance was absolutely top notch, it was a superb contribution for his side and one that merits much higher standards than the opening qualifying round of the FA Vase.