West Auckland Town 2-1 Heaton Stannington
League Cup 1st Round, Tuesday 11 October 2016
On a wet and dark night, the Stan made their 1st trip to the home of the original world cup winners since the 1951-52 season. The match was even closer than the FA cup tie in August and the Stan were unlucky to not at least have still been in the tie after 90 minutes. In fact, a neutral would not have known that the 2 teams were in different divisions. The Stan also matched their opponents for fitness this time. There were 6 changes from Saturday’s league win as the management team took the opportunity to give a debut to the 3 new signings: Ryan Doyle, Lewis O’Brien (both from the Under 21 team) and Daniel Sherliker from the ‘A’ team. There was also a rare start for Billy Walker who gave a 100% and had a good game. Fulcher and Leighton both gave good performances and were the core of the team.
On Town’s undulating pitch, the Stan were up for this cup tie from the start with Blackett running in on goal in the 1st minute. The 1st 10 minutes though saw both teams mainly cancelling each other out with no clear chances at either end. Sherliker did clear a home attack in the 8th minute and Blackett was blocked, but no foul given, after 10 minutes. The referee was still unwilling to give the anything when he turned down a Stan penalty claim 4 minutes later. The Stan defence was working well but they were also having more of the attacking moves although an Auckland player did score in 15 minutes but was clearly offside. A Walton shot ran out of steam in the 17th minute and there was a good run by Walker and a cross come effort by Sherliker. In 23 minutes, a home free kick was cleared and a good run by Walker saw Blackett undeservedly flagged for offside. The 1st proper shot of the match came in 26 minutes when a home player broke free and hit the side netting. 5 minutes later a Blackett free kick went just over and Auckland shot over 2 minutes after that. Fulcher and Leighton were working well and Blackett had 2 more runs and shots but was blocked. It was mainly one-way traffic now as the Stan sought to attack at every opportunity including through counter attacks. The Stan were therefore very unlucky to go behind in the 45th minute The ball got to Auckland’s Burnicle in the box and although O’Brien got a foot to it, he failed to clear and Burnicle’s 2nd effort went into the net.
With Blackett under the weather, Doyle and himself were replaced at half time by Stoddart and Johnson. Both teams again tried to attack but the 2nd half started quieter than the 1st had finished. Both teams had attacks blocked and Walton and Johnson made good runs. The 1st save of the half was by Smith after 61 minutes and 2 minutes later a Walker cross saw Walton’s shot deflected for a corner. In the 65th minute, the Stan were back on equal terms when a poor clearance by the home keeper saw the ball come to Walton who, having his path to goal blocked, passed to Fulcher on his left who shot confidently and scored. Auckland were 2-1 up again though 4 minutes later when an unnecessary free kick on the right near the corner flag was sent into the box and Richardson headed it in. The Stan kept trying for another equaliser and a joined up attack in 73 minutes saw Walker’s curving shot go just wide. 4 minutes later and a Stan free kick was headed out for a corner. Imray was then pushed over in the home box but no penalty was given. Leighton’s shot was then blocked by the keeper followed by Smith saving from a long shot at the other end. The Stan kept attacking and moves by both Walton and Johnson were both blocked. In 83 minutes, Imray sent a ball over a defender to Walton who shot over the bar. The last part of the match was end to end but neither side could find the net and the match finished with the home side progressing undeservedly to the 2nd round.
Stan Team: Smith; Doyle (Stoddart); O’Brien; Williams; Leighton; Fulcher; Imray; Walker; Blackett (Johnson); Walton; Sherliker (Jones). Unused subs: McCabe; Bailey.