It was cup day at The Grove on Saturday as United hosted Combe St Nicholas in the first round of the Somerset Senior Cup. The visitors ply their trade in division three of the County League but are undefeated so far and will prove a stern test for Nailsea who have stuttered in their league to date.
The opening minutes were even as both sides tried to force an opening. On 13 minutes a good run by Luke Penberthy down the wing saw him pull the ball back to Adam Marsden but the Combe keeper pushed the shot over the bar. Two minutes later a corner by Will Symonds was met by the head of Stuart Lee who was unlucky to see his effort rebound from the crossbar to safety.
Nailsea were having the majority of the ball having a half chance on the half an hour mark when Penberthy fed Matt Day on the right but his shot was sent wide of the far post without troubling the keeper. Combe then had their best chance to date but the shot was fired wide of the mark. Nailsea counter attacked with Symonds on the left showing his skill to conjure up a cross which was just too high for his colleagues.
Finally in the 35th minute Nailsea scored the opening goal. A good passage of passing just inside the Combe half saw Ben Pratt in space on the left wing who delivered an inch perfect cross to find Stuart Lee in the goal area who made no mistake with a well placed header giving the Combe keeper no chance.
Nailsea had the chance to go into the break with a second goal following a run down the right by Luke Penberthy who used his pace before releasing a pass into the danger area but Will Symonds could not make good contact sending the ball wide of goal.
This was a fairly even half of football with the visitors showing enough to send a message to Nailsea that a one goal lead would not be comfortable for the second half.
At the start of the second half Nailsea were forced to make a change when keeper Owen Adamson could not continue after being injured mid way through the first half. Rob Brown took over the goal keeping duties with Scott Fisher coming into the back line of the United defence.
Combe were the first to attack gaining a free kick which flew over the bar. On 68 minutes an alert Matt Day saw the keeper off of his line sending a 35 yard shot just wide of the goal. With 20 minutes remaining Nailsea made their second change with Luke Penberthy giving way to debutant Matt Thomas.
Shortly afterwards Nailsea put clear daylight between the teams with their second goal. Adam Marsden did brilliantly on the right flank to make space for himself before delivering a tempting cross which was again met by the head of Stuart Lee who picked his spot perfectly with a deft flick of his head to see the ball nestle in the back of the Combe net. This goal,was the 200th first team goal for Stuart. Many Congratulations.
The final Nailsea change was made on 72 minutes with Matt Day being replaced by Ben Pinkney. With ten minutes remaining Matt Thomas who showed good touches and awareness since coming on as substitute fed Stuart Lee in a good position but the double goal scorer could not get the ball from out of his feet in time to release a shot.
Nailsea were now looking comfortable at last and put the icing on the cake with their third goal with five minutes remaining. Joe Sharps found Adam Marsden on the right with a good cross field pass. The young striker showed what he is capable of by taking a few touches with the ball before striking an unstoppable shot which found the far corner of the net with the keeper motionless.
Final Score. Nailsea United 3 Combe St Nicholas 0
This was a much better performance by the United side against a gritty and dangerous Combe team tasting defeat for the first time this season. For the spectators there were three goals of high quality with Matt Day and Stuart Lee looking to form a good partnership in attack.
In other games the Reserves had a seven goal romp against Stockwood Green Reserves which saw them lead the league table. The “A” side were defeated at Locking Park with the Colts also losing to Weston Celtic.
Next week September 8th the first team visit top of the league Fry Club and will have to carry the effort they showed against Combe to bring the points home.
At The Grove the Reserves will play the first teams cup opponents Combe St Nicholas in the league with a 3.00pm kick off.