For the second week running United were involved in a cup match, this time away to Shirehampton in the League Cup. The conditions could not have been worse with a very strong wind on a warm sultry afternoon.
Nailsea took the lead after seven minutes with a long kick from keeper Jack Smith not being dealt with by the Shirehampton defence allowing Matt Thomas to pick his spot to score his first goal for the first team to give his side the lead.
It took until 20 minutes had elapsed for the home side to mount a concerted attack, first of all hitting the side netting and then having a shot blocked. Five minutes later a Will Symonds cross was glanced goalwards by Luke Penberthy only to see the ball hit the upright. Shirehampton counter attacked forcing Smith to push away a dangerous free kick.
Shirehampton were beginning to get more control and took advantage when a long ball was not attacked by the United defence leaving a simple tap in to bring the scores level. Worst was to come as on the stroke of half time a low shot from outside of the penalty area crept just inside the post to give the home side the lead.
Half Time. Shirehampton 2 Nailsea United 1
The wind was the winner in the first half making play difficult for both sides. United would be kicking themselves letting in a soft goal after battling so hard for 45 minutes.
Shirehampton were the first to see a chance after the restart bringing a fine save from Jack Smith as they attacked down their right flank. On 53 minutes Sam Olsen sent Will Symonds away down the left but his powerful shot rose over the bar. Play at this time was end to end without a real chance being created.
On 70 minutes Nailsea took off goal scorer Matt Thomas to be replaced by Ben Pinkney in attack. The Nailsea goal then led a charmed life with first of all the ball hitting the post to be followed by a home player missing a golden chance with a header. With 15 minutes remaining United made their second change with Ryan King replacing Luke Penberthy.
It did not take long for Ryan King to make an impact taking a free kick from the left hand side of the goal. With the goalmouth crowded, King used all of his experience to drive the ball hard and true towards the home goal making it difficult to defend and sure enough a touch by Sam Olsen saw the ball rocket into the net for the equaliser. Game on with the scores even.
Nailsea then had the better of the next ten minutes but could not capitalise. Shirehampton had in fact the best chance with two minutes of full time remaining with a cross from their left flank which was met for a certain goal only for Ben Pratt to make a brilliant block to keep Nailsea in the game.
Full Time. Shirehampton 2 Nailsea United 2
And so to the dreaded penalty shootout with Shirehampton converting their first two shots with James Springett and Adam Marsden matching them for Nailsea. The third home penalty was brilliantly save by Jack Smith and with Luis Parnham converting the United third penalty the advantage now was with Nailsea.
It was just a matter of the United penalty takers holding their nerve which they did in style thanks to Tom Richens and finally Ben Pratt who slotted in number five to see United win by five penalties to four.
This was a much better performance from Nailsea after the disappointment of losing to Castle Cary last week. Hopefully, this result and performance can be carried forward to the league games starting with the home match next Saturday against Clevedon United at The Grove. Kick Off 3.00pm.