Vase trail: A Winter's Tale
By Gary Broughton
Updated Wednesday, 17th November 2010
Match 4. Saturday 13th November 2010. 2nd Round. Winterton Rangers v St. Helens Town. West Street, Winterton.
Lincolnshire! This game was the first serious test regarding the ambition to follow the Vase through to the final, and with the rain pouring down in Burnley on the morning of the game, all attempts to get confirmation the game was on were failing.
The journey was surprisingly really good, and the motorway part of the trip after Leeds was marvellously quiet - and flat!
We arrived at West Street with ten minutes to spare, and after having a good nosey at the quirky old building across the street, made our way in and straight to the smart cafe for our belated lunch. The steak pie looked amazingly like a Hollands one, but thankfully it wasn't, it was much better.
In contrast to Burnley, the sun was shining brightly, and caused it's share of problems both on and off the pitch for the first hour. The fans of our inherited team St. Helens had made their mark at the far end of the pitch with their various banners, and we plonked ourselves just to the right of the only stand on the left of the ground.
The game kicked off, and in the first ten minutes there was little in the way of goalmouth action, in fact a long punt forward which just eluded a breaking free Rangers attacker was the nearest we got to a chance at either end.
It was 15 minutes before we saw a shot, but Town's Liam Pearson's tame shot was comfortably collected by Ward in the home goal.
However, Pearson was not to be denied, and on 19 minutes Mike Fargher stormed down the Winterton right and produced a cracking ball into the area to the unmarked forward, and he smashed it crisply back across Ward, who may well have got his fingertips to the ball, and into the top of the net.
The game then suffered a quiet period, before Rangers had a sustained period of pressure before half-time. A corner from the right was flicked across the area, and Wilkin controlled the ball well before volleying back across goal, only to see a Town defender hook the ball off the line. And another corner a couple of minutes later ended in an almight scramble by the right hand post. It seemed as though the ball would inevitably end up in the net, but it amazingly squirmed centimetres the wrong side of the upright as far as the hosts were concerned.
Rangers should have been made to pay for that miss minutes before the break, when a slip by a defender allowed Dyson to bear down on goal, but poor initial control allowed another defender to get back and cause him to mishit his shot.
The home side upped their game in the second half, but it was Town who could have doubled their advantage within five minutes. A complete mess up between defender and keeper allowed Pearson to collect the ball, but, driven wide, he wrapped his left foot around the ball and over the recovering defender and narrowly over the bar.
On 60 minutes Town's Newbrook was called into action to parry a close range shot, with the rebound being blazed wildly over the bar, and soon after he pushed another shot from the left edge of the area around the post for a corner. In fact it was the beginning of a great little spell where he was equal to whatever Rangers threw at him, and a fingertip save from Barlow's shot directed that effort narrowly over the bar.
In a now rare attack at the other end, Ward was equally agile to claw away a shot from under his crossbar and around the post for a corner, and he was then relieved to see a shot fired straight at him after a Rangers defender controlled the ball and then just ball-watched as a Town rushed in and lofted goalwards. It could well have signalled the second goal had the Town attacker chosen to burst through on the keeper.
Rangers were perservering though, and they were desperately unlucky when an absolutely delicious ball was crossed in from the right, only for Sanderson's bullet header to come crashing back off the crossbar. The rebound fell kindly to Slack, but his shot sailed hopelessly over the bar.
But it was Town who grabbed the second and killer goal of the game five minutes from time. The ball was played across the edge of the area to Pearson, and a brilliant disguise of an attempted shot inside allowed him to twist round to his left and hook the ball back across towards the six yard box, where Mike Kavanagh, who had only been on the field for a few moments, headed past a helpless Ward.
It was pretty much game over, and though the hosts had the majority of the remaining possession, Town held out comfortably over the closing minutes to book their place in round three, and we all made our way to the smart bar at the rear of the clubhouse.
After a slow first half, the game certainly kicked into life in the second half, and turned into a thoroughly decent affair. If Rangers had managed an equaliser during their sustained period of pressure midway through the half, it's likely they'd have gone on to win it, but some super goalkeeping kept them at bay and allowed Town to grab a late second to end a neatly balanced contest.
The dreadful David Essex san A Winter's Tale almost 30 years ago, and that is indeed the end of what is our first, and probably only, trip to and tale of little Winterton in North Lincolnshire.
FA VASE TRAIL SO FAR (team followed in capitals)
1st Qualifying Round
Sat 04 Sep 3pm NELSON v Abbey Hey (walkover for Abbey Hey)g
2nd Qualifying Round
Sat 18 Sep 3pm ABBEY HEY 0 Oldham Boro 0 (after extra time)
2nd Qualifying Round Replay
Tue 21 Sep 7.45pm Oldham Boro 3 ABBEY HEY 2 (after extra time, played at Abbey Hey)
Sat 02 Oct 3.00pm St. Helens Town 2 OLDHAM BORO 1 (played at Ashton Town)
Sat 13 Nov 3.00pm Winterton Rangers 0 ST. HELENS TOWN 2