REPORT: Widnes 1-2 Glasshoughton Welfare
Widnes exit FA Vase at the first hurdle
Widnes exited the FA Vase at the first qualifying round stage after losing 2-1 at home to Northern Counties East League First Division side Glasshoughton Welfare on Saturday.
Andrew Norbury headed Glasshoughton ahead inside 11 minutes with Widnes equalising midway through the second half as Andy Gillespie netted his first goal for the club.
With extra-time looming, Andrew McManus settled the contest in controversial circumstances on a desperately disappointing afternoon for Widnes, who were unable to build upon their 2-1 win over Congleton Town last time out.
Manager Joey Dunn named an unchanged side from the victory over Congleton, and it was Widnes who fashioned the tie’s first opportunity.
Luke Edwards latched on to a Billy Webb flick-on and drove forward only for his cross-turned-shot to sail over the crossbar and nestle on the roof of the net.
Despite Widnes’ early dominance over possession, it was Glasshoughton who took an early lead.
Alex Davies conceded a cheap free-kick just outside the area that was cleverly floated into the area by Conor Glavin with Andrew Norbury peeling away from his marker to glance an unchallenged header into the far corner.
Chances were few and far between as Widnes struggled to break down a well-disciplined and rigidly organised Glasshoughton defence who had bodies behind the ball that began to frustrate the patient hosts.
Chris Lomax fired a shot harmlessly over for Widnes whilst ‘keeper Richie Mottram – who was rarely troubled following the opener – had to react quickly to produce a good stop to deny Tom Carr’s near-post flick-on.
Widnes boss Dunn was forced into a chance late in the first half, with Kev Towey replacing Webb who limped off with a hamstring injury after over-exerting himself on the receiving end of a strong McManus challenge.
Halftime: Widnes 0-1 Glasshoughton Welfare
Widnes started the second half well and should have equalised almost immediately after the restart.
The vibrant Jack Graham got forward from right-back and produced a good cross into the area that was met by Chris Lomax, who couldn’t quite direct his header on target as he looked to re-produce his match-winning heroics from the victory over Congleton.
Graham was again involved as Widnes again went close as Graham produced a deep-cross towards the back-post only for Alex Davies to head narrowly wide from an acute angle.
Widnes were in the ascendency and were subsequently rewarded as Dunn’s side found an equaliser. Davies found himself in space on the right-flank to float a cross towards the near-post that was met by Andy Gillespie who managed to direct his header beyond the outstretched Arron Murphy to net his first goal for the club following his arrival from St Helens Town.
Sean Myler was introduced from the bench as Dunn looked for alternatives going forward and the change almost paid instant dividends as the former Marine man got in behind the Glasshoughton defence and looked to pick out Towey who couldn’t quite grab an elusive touch to poke the ball home. Lomax could only fire wide with his follow-up.
Widnes pushed for a late winner but appeared to run out of ideas against Glasshoughton’s well-marshalled defence. Gillespie had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty turned down before central defender Mike Burke drove a shot into gloves of Murphy.
With extra-time looming, it was Glasshoughton who managed to find a late winner against the run of play, albeit in controversial circumstances.
Widnes had a throw deep inside their own-half only for referee John McCallum to controversially award the throw-in to Glasshoughton after deeming Jack Graham to have been time-wasting.
Glasshoughton quickly capitalised, and with Widnes previously set to go forward, Tom Carr’s launched throw-in towards the six-yard area was nodded home by Andrew McManus despite suspicions of a foul on Widnes ‘keeper Mottram.
Widnes protested both decisions but to no avail as Glasshoughton booked themselves a trip to AFC Darwen in the second qualifying round.
Fulltime: Widnes 1-2 Glasshoughton Welfare
Widnes now face a league double-header over the weekend as Dunn’s side visit the Fylde coast on Friday night to take on Squires Gate before hosting Burscough on Monday night. Both games kick-off at 7.45pm.