Road to Wembley 17/18: Preliminary Round

Maine Road 1-1 Abbey Hey (Abandoned)

For my Monday night FA. Cup replay fix, I had to travel north to Manchester this week.
Maine Road would meet Abbey Hey after a 2-2 draw on the Saturday.

I checked into my hotel in Salford Quays and headed off to the game.
There was another minor game at the Etihad that night, with Everton visiting.
To avoid the city centre traffic, I decided to walk the three miles across to Chorlton for the game.

There was plenty to see on the way, including both Old Trafford football and cricket grounds.

I did come unstuck at one point. There seems to be a lot of residential roads in Chorlton that are suddenly blocked by impassable brick walls.
It reminded me of Belfast. Surely the United/City rivalry isn’t that fierce?

The highlight of the walk however was stopping for Steak Pudding, chips and gravy en route.

I arrived at Brantingham Road in good time, and after a friendly chat with the gateman, I took a wander around the ground.

It’s fairly basic, but with a small covered terrace on one side, and covered benched seating on the other.
As you can imagine, everything was painted sky blue.

Maine Road FC were formed as ‘City Supporters Rusholme’ and naturally have strong connections with Manchester City, and carry the City’s former grounds name.

The crowd was obviously going to be lower than expected with City playing at home that night, but  a few groundhoppers boosted the crowd to a reasonable level.

They produced an excellent 60 page programme for £1.50 which also included that afternoons draw.
The news that the winners would face a mouthwatering home tie against Altrincham also added spice to the game.

Maine Road dominated the first half with great efforts from Jack Langford, Richard Williams and a Matthew Morgan free kick all being denied by Abbey Hey keeper Elliot Wynne.

Both sides were playing decent football but it was Wynne who was the star of the first half, keeping it goalless at half time.

Having defending for long periods in the first half, Abbey Hey were awarded a penalty in the early minutes of the second half, when Benito Lowe was brought down in the box, and Sam Freakes converted.

Abbey Hey had boosted confidence, and Freakes nearly scored again from long range, a little later.

Maine Road were struggling to dominate now, especially with the Abbey Hey keeper being such great form.

I was beginning to think that Abbey Hey would hang on for the win, when suddenly Jack Poxon hit  a screamer into the back of the Abbey Hey net in the 79th minute.
It was the only way that Wynne was going to beaten on the night, and sent the game to extra time.

It had been a great game of football, and both teams were eager to win through to face Altrincham, but sadly only eight minutes into injury time, there was a serious injury to Abbey Hey substitute Adam Hampshire.

It seemed innocuous at the time, but the longer he got treatment, the more it became obvious that it was serious.

It was on the far side, so I couldn’t really see the extent of the injury. After 10 minutes I heard a few people call out to the referee to abandon the game, which soon after he did.

It was the right thing to do, and with the scores level, it gave no advantage to either side.

On the way out of the ground I spoke to one of the Abbey Hey players who described what had happened, and it sounded horrific.

The ambulance arrived just as I left, and I had the long three mile walk back to Salford to reflect on the game.

From what I’ve read on Twitter since, it sounds that Adam Hampshire’s injuries aren’t as bad as feared thankfully.

I won’t be there for the rearranged game, but l hope it’s another decent game, and I wish Adam Hampshire a speedy recovery.

Our thanks again to Andy Phillips. Follow him on Twitter!

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