United End the Wait
Basford prevail in a cracking Notts Senior cup Semi Final
Basford ended a 27 year wait to return to the Final of the Notts Senior Cup final after an excellent 4-2 victory last night at home to a spirited Dunkirk outfit.
In a game that always threatened goals after the last league cup encounter yielded 9, both teams failed to disappoint a good crowd with an action packed game.
Big boost for United saw Saul Deeney return to the Basford starting line up after a 3 week absence. Apart from this manager Martin Carruthers went with the same 10 starting players who played against Coleshill Town. Basford had Jahred Russell and Jamie McNicholas cup tied for this senior cup game.
With the game setting off at a frantic pace both teams create a host of early chances and the only surprise was it remained 0-0 until the 21st minute.
Ex United keeper Jake Want was called to make a string of brilliant saves to deny Robson Doolan and Ruben Wiggins Thomas, with Lee Hendrie also clipping the post and Wiggins- Thomas inches wide when lifting over Want then United had good early opportunities to settle any semi-final nerves. It was never one way though & Dunkirk Manager Nick Hawkins was denied a clear chance as he set his sights on goal from 12 yards. United's returning keeper Saul Deeney was equally overworked and had two brilliant early saves too deny Troy Carty & Will Coutts. The last one proved crucial as Basford swept up field to open the scoring on 21 minutes. Josh Thornton played a major part in the goal and bent a delightful cross, in that Ryan Whitehurst glanced home with a perfectly placed header for 1-0. With Lee Hendrie once again in brilliant form the midfielder doubled the advantage on 29 minutes. A quick free kick caught Dunkirk off guard and Hendrie beat his marker and picked his spot with a beauty bending round Jake Want for 2-0 from 20 yards. United sensed a real opportunity to put the game away, and after Aaron Webster was inches wide with a deft chip. United appeared to get the crucial 3rd on 40 minutes, this time the pace of Cory Grantham caused the damage as he beat his man and squared for Ryan Whitehurst to convert a sharp chance for 3-0.
3-0 at the half would prove difficult for most teams to come back from but Dunkirk showed Great Spirit to get on the score sheet moments before the break, as Ryan Hastie hit a top corner screamer for a HT 3-1 score line.
The visitors though made the game really interesting on 50 minutes as our ex flanker Aidan Brady got Dunkirk back in the game. In many occasions in the United Yellow Brady rolled back the years as he isolated his defender one on one to fire high past Saul Deeney for 3-2 and game on.
With the visitors buoyed by the fight back Basford needed a 4th. Ryan Whitehurst forced another stunning save out of Jake Want before the crucial 4th arrived on 65 minutes. This time fine link up by the strike pairing saw Ruben Wiggins-Thomas in the right place to net for 4-2. Still Dunkirk would not go away and Saul Deeney had to make a couple of further wonder saves to deny the lively Coutts & Carty. The saves proved crucial as United hung on to clinch a memorable semi-final victory and a Senior Cup final date v Clipstone on Thursday April 30th at Mansfield Town.
Cannot give enough credit on the night to Dunkirk, and how they find them at the bottom of the MFL proves a mystery, and on this level of showing still time for them to get out of trouble. With Basford having to play Dunkirk twice more in the league then the outcome of these results could have a big bearing at both the top and bottom of the MFL but we do hope our friends can pull it off and avoid relegation.