Non-League big guns Altrincham, Stalybridge Celtic and FC United were among the teams to crash out of the FA Cup on a largely disappointing day for the region’s semi-pro clubs, writes Tony Glennon.
And it was Alty’s shock exit which will perhaps be felt the hardest as the once renowned Cup giant-killers suffered an embarrassing 2-0 second qualifying round defeat to visiting Witton Albion, who play two divisions below them in Evo-Stik North.
The Robins, playing for the first time in their new red-and-black Moss Lane centenary kit, were rocking from the moment Alex Titchiner fired Witton into a surprise 11th-minute lead.
Despite dominating possession, Alty rarely looked like breaking a Cup goals duck stretching back to 2008 and were eventually sunk without trace when sub Mark Buchan added Witton’s second goal three minutes from time.
Stalybridge joined Altrincham in falling at their opening hurdle as they lost for the first time this season in tumbling 2-1 to fellow Blue Square Bet North high-fliers Guiseley at Bower Fold.
To rub salt in Bridge’s wound, it was two of their old boys, Lee Ellington and Joe O’Neill, who hit the goals which shattered their dreams of Cup glory.
Phil Marsh pulled one back in stoppage-time but that was scant consolation for the Celts on the weekend their boss, Jim Harvey, was named BSBN manager of the month.
FC United’s hopes of repeating last season’s money-spinning run to the second round proper were dashed as they fell to a 51st- minute Lee Dodgson goal in losing 1-0 to Lancaster.
Ashton United also bowed out, crushed 3-0 by visiting Spennymoor.
Out too went Northwich – beaten 2-1 by neighbours Nantwich – Warrington, who lost 3-1 to Bradford Park Avenue, and Buxton, felled 2-1 by Rushall Olympic.
But there was delight for Droylsden as they made an impressive start to their bid to successfully negotiate the Cup’s qualifying stages for the third time in four years with Ciaran Kilheeney’s first-half brace giving them a 2-1 win at Workington.
Joining the Bloods in the third and penultimate qualifying round will be their Tameside neighbours Hyde, who eased past Staveley Miners Welfare 3-0.
On target for the Tigers were Ryan Crowther (2) and Matthew Berkeley.
Evo-Stik North strugglers Radcliffe Borough also continued their unlikely Cup progress with Steve Howson, Dave Sherlock and Ben Wharton scoring as they came from behind to triumph 3-1 at Clitheroe.
October 03, 2011