Glasshoughton Welfare exited the FA Vase at the second qualifying round stage when they were beaten 4-2 by Northern Counties West Premier League side AFC Darwen at a cold TJs Arena on Saturday.
Despite twice taking the lead in the first half with goals from Josh Bucknall and Josh Morley Welfare were pegged back and man of the match Mark McKay’s two second half strikes saw the Lancashire leave to contest the next round.
Welfare were on the back foot in the first few minutes with McKay heading against the bar and keeper Jordan Bradshaw getting down well to his left to just about claim an effort with his fingertips. The home keeper then made a great block with his feet to keep the scores level.
Glasshoughton took the lead on five minutes when a great Morley free-kick to the far post saw Bucknall steal in and head past visiting keeper Thomas Scott into the far corner.
From the restart Morley broke down the left and he poked the ball past the onrushing Scott, but his goal bound effort was cleared away.
Bucknall then headed another dangerous free-kick over, but at the other end the visitors levelled on 16 minutes when a corner was powerfully headed home by Kiel Donaldson.
Darwen forced more pressure and Bradshaw made good blocks with his feet twice within a minute. Welfare went ahead again on 28 minutes when a Morley corner was fumbled by Scott and the ball found its way into the net.
A few minutes later the keeper made amends when he leapt to tip a Ryan Poskitt drive over. Conor Glavin then shot just wide after a great reverse pass by Morley. The visitors levelled just before the break when a lofted ball to the far post caused confusion in the home defence and Alex Ralph volleyed home from six yards via the post.
As the second half opened Bradshaw once again saved well. However, five minutes into the half Darwen took the lead when McKay struck a shot home from 18 yards.
The same player should have sewn the game up when he was put in only to miscue his shot.
Welfare came back and a strong Andy Horbury shot was blocked with appeals for handball falling on deaf ears. As the game drifted to its conclusion substitute Ash Scothern headed an effort wide and Darwen finally put the game to bed when another high ball into the area was not dealt with and McKay smashed the ball home.
Joint manager Lee Vigars said: “Really disappointing to bow out of the FA Vase following what can only be described as an under par performance.
“We had high hopes prior to kick-off although we didn’t start too well. We took the lead with a good Josh Bucknall header. For some reason we looked short of ideas throughout the game and had too many individuals having a bad day at the office.
“Confidence is not good at the moment in time, but we know as a group we need to stick together. When we are good, we are very good. Wednesday at Nostell is a huge game for us and we will work hard to get all three points.”
Glasshoughton were due to make the short travel to Nostell MW last night before they are away to Swallownest this Saturday (3pm) and take on East Yorkshire Carnegie at home next Tuesday (7.45pm).