It was cup action at The Grove on Saturday as United played hosts to Castle Cary in the first round of The Somerset Senior Cup. Although playing their league football one division below Nailsea the visitors have made a steady start this season and could not be taken lightly.
The visitors had the territorial advantage in the early exchanges but United had the first shot in anger on five minutes when a sweeping move ended with Brad Cogan finding Jack Last on the right but his shot was wide of the far post. The visitors were still posing problems when with ten minutes gone a Castle Cary free kick was not cleared but the ball was gratefully caught by Jack Smith from close range.
On 15 minutes James Springett picked out Jack Last on the wing, his cross was met by Stu Lee but the header was too high. At the other end United scrambled away another Castle Cary attack without looking convincing. The next goalmouth action saw Tom Weaver having his shot saved at the near post by the Castle Cary keeper.
Finally United opened the scoring with half an hour played. Ben Pratt battled well to win the ball before releasing to Adam Marsden on the left, his high cross was met with the head of Stu Lee who glanced the ball into the far corner of the net to give his side the lead. The visitors were unlucky when a shot whistled over the United bar but Jack Smith had it covered. The final half chance of the half came when another accurate James Springett cross was headed wide by Stu Lee.
Half Time. Nailsea United 1 Castle Cary 0
United rode their luck at times but just edged the half having the better of the last 15 minutes.
It was all Nailsea at the start of the second half with Ben Pratt and Stu Lee combining to set up a chance for Tom Weaver but his effort was blazed over the bar. On 49 minutes a driven cross by James Springett was headed wide by Stu Lee as Nailsea looked to take advantage of their better form.
They were rewarded two minutes later when James Whitfield sent a well judged ball into the path of Tom Weaver who showed excellent judgement to lob the advancing keeper to see the ball nestle in the back of the net. A well taken goal.
Castle Cary were having difficulty in handling the eager young Nailsea side with Adam Marsden forcing a corner with a deflected shot with Scott Fisher making good contact from another Springett corner only to see his header thud against the post and away to safety.
United were opening up a tiring Castle Cary defence with precise football with Adam Marsden a Stu Lee playing a quick one two before the Lee shot was just off target. On 60 minutes the industrious Tom Weaver was replaced by Mark Iles as Nailsea freshened things up.
In a rare break Nailsea were indebted to good tracking back by Scott Fisher who snuffed out a visitors attack with a timely tackle. Further Nailsea changes were made with Jack Last and Brad Cogan being replaced by Joe Sharps and Sam Olsen respectively. Castle Cary then began to put more pressure on the home defence as they looked to close the gap with Jack Smith keeping the two goal advantage when saving well in a one on one confrontation.
This stung Nailsea into another gear as they sought to make the game safe. With four minutes of normal time remaining saw Adam Marsden break the Castle Cary offside trap to confidently slip the ball past the keeper for goal number three. The flood gates were now really open as James Springett picked out Joe Sharps on the right who quickly advanced before send a shot wide of the keeper to find the far corner of the net.
Deep into added time Ben Pratt and James Springett set up a chance for Stu Lee who made now mistake slotting the ball wide of the keeper for his second goal and his team’s number five.
Final Score. Nailsea United 5 Castle Cary
United advance into the next round of the cup with what appears on paper to be an easy win but it was not until the closing minutes of the game did the difference in class between the two sides really tell. Once again it was pleasing to see a very young United side play attractive football to create chances five of which were taken.
Next Saturday September 9th it is back to league action when Clevedon United are the visitors to The Grove. Kick Off at 3.00pm. The Clevedon side have started the season strongly and will be a severe test to the youthful Nailsea side.
Please note that after the game the new changing facility will be named after the legendary John Hobbs who was Club Secretary for 56 years. On display in the club marquee adjacent to the changing rooms will be John’s meticulous records dating back to 1960 ending in 2016 with information on every game played by a Nailsea United team including, results, teams and goal scorers.
There is a licensed bar from 5.00pm in the marquee so why not come along watch some football and then reminisce by looking John’s records which are available to the public for the very first time which are sure to stir some memories.
In other results yesterday the Reserves won at Winscombe but the “B” and “C” sides started their league programme with defeats.