West romp into last eight of memorial league trophy
By Harry Crowe - Reporter
West Auckland Town.......3
WEST Auckland Town progressed to the quarter-finals of the Mitre Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup after a convincing victory over Sunderland RCA.
Amar Purewal’s quickfire double and Rees Greenwood’s clinical first half strike saw the defending champions advance to the last eight of the competition.
Gary Forrest made two changes from the 4-1 win over Thornaby with Nathan Fisher and Alex Francis in the starting line-up replacing Dan Mitton and Greenwood.
The visitors started brighter and within the opening five minutes nearly got off to a lightning start when Connor Slack broke in behind, but lack of composure cost RCA with the forward fractionally firing inches wide of the right-hand post.
As a result of a collision with Slack, Jamie Harwood was unable to continue and made way for ex-Sunderland man Greenwood.
Purewal, who had earlier glanced two chances in succession narrowly off target, soon made amends midway through the first half as he smartly finished off Fisher’s cutback despite RCA’s best efforts on the line to keep it out.
Just five minutes later, West increased their lead after Henry Dorward was adjudged to have fouled Mitchell inside the 18-yard box and from the resulting spot-kick, Purewal emphatically rifled in the top right corner.
Martin Swales’ side struggled to cope with West’s attacking intensity and the contest was all but wrapped up with three minutes of the first half remaining following an encouraging run and finish by Greenwood, who drilled a low strike past Robbie Dean from the edge of the area.
In a low-key second period, RCA rarely threatened, and the closest they came to a consolation was through Slack, who beat the offside trap but was stopped in his tracks by Tom Flynn as West looked comfortable holding on to their three-goal lead.
Slack was RCA’s most prominent threat and his pace caused some anxious moments late on in the West defence though Flynn was determined in preserving his clean sheet via a brave block to ensure a pleasant evening at the Wanted Stadium.
West Auckland Town .....0
WEST Auckland Town were held to a goalless draw at the Glebe against Whickham in difficult conditions.
With strong winds stopping the flow of the game, which was brought forward one hour due to floodlight failure, neither side were able to find that creative spark as West secured a fifth clean sheet in seven matches in all competitions.
The result sees West slip to eighth in the Northern League Division One table while the Lang Jacks are five points off safety at the foot of the table.
Gary Forrest made four changes from the midweek League Cup last 16 win over Sunderland RCA with Jamie Harwood, Ross Colquhoun, Nathan Fisher and Alex Francis replaced by Jamie Cobain, Daniel Mitton, Rees Greenwood and Craig Spooner.
In the reverse fixture in September, West hit three past 10-man Whickham courtesy of goals either half from Amar Purewal, Adam Mitchell and Greenwood.
Mitchell came close to finding an early breakthrough inside the opening seven minutes after clever build-up play with Spooner though his shot deflected off Kieran Galbraith against the left-hand post before it marginally evaded the other side of Jack Wilson’s goal.
Whickham, who were eager to end a five-match winless run in Division One, carved out a dangerous spell of their own midway through the half when Lee McAndrew charged down Tom Scothern’s flick on but his low cross from the right-hand side was failed to be converted by any teammates in the middle.
As the half ended, West looked the more livelier in front of goal but failed to capitalise on decent opportunities. David Dowson replaced Greenwood at the break in his first appearance since the FA Vase fourth round win over Walsall Wood and almost made an instant impact after racing on to Spooner’s sumptuous 50-yard pass while holding off a half-hearted challenge from George Lindo, before firing his effort straight at Wilson.
There were strong shouts for a penalty amongst the West dugout after Purewal appeared to be bundled down inside the 18-yard box though the referee remained unfazed as the contest petered out for a goalless draw.