Vics' exited the 2nd round stage of the Integro Doodson Sport Cup this evening - including five debutants; with a narrow defeat away to higher-ranked Ashton United FC. In an entertaining encounter; the Green and Whites' can count themselves unlucky to not have perhaps forced the game into a penalty shoot-out after creating some good chances through-out the game but succumed to Robins' sub' Ryan Crowthers' drilled shot on the 76' mark.
Tuesday 17th January 2017. COMPETITION - Integro Doodson Sport Cup 2nd Round. VENUE - Hurst Cross Ground, Ashton-under-Lyne
LINE-UP'S - Ashton Utd - McIlwaine, Coo, Mason, Connor (C), Lofthouse (Maiese 64'), Roberts, Lowe, Smith, Collins (Crowther 73'), Gorman (Chadwick 73'), Knight. Un-used subs' - Banim, Smalley.
Vics' - Forth, Turnbull (D), Fitzgerald (C) (Berrisford 62') (D), Lyndon (Lawrence 34') (D), Mannion (D), Doran, Clarke, Bennett (D), Pritchard, Johnson, Gyimah. No un-used subs'
*D - Denotes debut. No bookings or red cards for either side.
GOALS - Ashton Utd - Ryan Crowther 76'. Unavailable for Vics' - Godwin Abadaki - Striker (shoulder), Dave Short - Striker (work commitments) Stuart McDonald - forward (hamstring) Drew Matthews - Forward - (illness).
Vics' started this League cup tie confidently and could have registered the opening goal in the first minute as a curling left-wing cross by left-sided attacker John Pritchard saw Alex Johnson get underneath his header well which was parried by Robins' keeper' McIlwaine with Yaw Gyimah’s subsequent low, drilled effort being blocked by the custodian. On 12' a lung-busting run took Lee Knight into the area where his cross saw Nico Collins’ right-foot effort blocked and a minute later Collins saw another effort on the turn well saved by Vics' keeper' Dylan Forth. The un-marked Yaw Gyimah should have done better than to head John Pritchard’s inviting left-wing cross wide from a good position on 27' and the Robins' could have moved ahead on 33' as another Knight cross found Gorman who crashed a low right-foot shot against the left hand post.
HALF-TIME - Ashton Utd 0 Vics' 0.
The second half began with Ashton on the attack and a cross from the right-wing saw Richard Smith volley over the bar on 49' before another effort was glanced wide by the head of striker Nico Collins. On 62' Vics' front-man Yaw Gyimah’s flicked header put John Pritchard into the area who pulled a shot well wide of goal but a double substitution broke the deadlock as within two minutes of coming on, Matty Chadwick's clever through-ball set up fellow sub' Ryan Crowther for a fine right foot finish across Vics' glove-man Dylan Forth from 15 yards. Vics' task became even tougher as debutant right-back Jack Turnbull was forced off with an ankle injury on 78' leaving the Green and Whites' with ten men owing to all available substitutes being used. Vics' were un-deterred though; and an amazing last-ditch block by Robins' skipper' Joe Connor denied Matty Clarke a near-certain goal after he had pulled the trigger with a block-buster of a right-foot shot from 16 yards on the angle of the box. In the last minute Lee Knight’s pass picked out the run of Matty Chadwick who dragged his shot well-wide of goal when well placed as the Robins' booked a place in round three.
Vics' M.O.M - George Mannion. An assured debut at left-back having not played in weeks. Industrious performance and tidy in possession.
Manager Paul Moores' verdict on the battling loss -
A performance that was very good in large parts, Paul. Plenty to be confident about; and taking into account several debutants; lots to take from the game going forward.
With a full squad to pick from at 16:00 - then came the 3 calls I didn't want to hear, Stu McDonald, Dave Short and Drew Matthews all not available due to Hamstring, Work Commitments and Illness respectively.
So I changed our starting line up with three new players starting, and only 2 available on the bench; who were both new signings. We adopted a 4--33 shape, and I asked the lads that we needed to press high up the pitch to deny them possession. I felt that with them having the experience they had, we needed to take the game to them; and try and stop any attacks further up the park.
We started very well, and the aggression; along with the calmness in which we attacked and defended was pleasing to see. It has taken us 4 weeks to bring together some experienced players at this level, and it showed with John Bennett and George Mannion, Reece Lyndon and Matty Clarke organising, and Yaw Gyimah back after his recent absence and Alex Johnson we now have a number of lads who know what is expected and what to do in pressure situations.
The game was important to us - and although we lost; my feelings on the defeat were easily overshadowed by the performance and togetherness that the lads showed for their first game together. Ashton fielded a strong side against us - with only 3 regulars rested, and who all came on, and that made the performance for me that more pleasing.
We now have to take that into the league campaign, and with a couple of more additions up my sleeve, competition is now looking good and we can grow the squad.
All in all it was a good evening despite the result, and I thank the supporters who were magnificent all game.
Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury.