Manager Rouse delighted with history making Pontefract Collieries players

Pontefract Collieries boss Craig Rouse was “ecstatic” with the performance of his players as they rose to their big occasion to breeze into the fourth qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 8:34 am
Pontefract Collieries manager Craig Rouse celebrates on the sidelines during his side's fantastic FA Cup win over Handsworth. Picture: @dribblingcode

The history making Colls will now tackle former Football League team Halifax Town at home on the weekend of October 16 in what must rank as the biggest competitive match they have ever staged.

And at stake is a place in the first round proper alongside current clubs from the Football League like Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland, Bolton Wanderers, Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic who have all previously been in the FA Cup final.

If there were any nerves at what was at stake in the third qualifying round at home to Handsworth they did not show as Ponte were three up by half-time and went on to win 6-0.

“It was unknown territory for us as a club to be in this round and to go and do what we have done, to win by six goals to nil – we’re ecstatic,” said Colls manager Rouse.

“Handsworth did very well to be in this stage and I don’t want to take anything away from them, but I think the scoreline could have been more.

“We’ve dominated throughout and moved the ball really well.

“I think I was most pleased with the work rate. The players have worked hard for each other and I really feel that result’s been coming.

“It’s a day that captures the imagination, not just for the players, you could see the crowd in here and the town getting behind us.

“We’ve been first class and we’re in the next round and that’s obviously the main thing.”

Rouse was obviously pleased with the attacking prowess showed by his side against Handsworth, but also praised the defensive efforts which have seen back to back clean sheets now.

He added: “Since the tenth minute of the Squires Gate game the only goals we’ve conceded have been penalties – a penalty against Squires Gate, a penalty in the 93rd minute against Yorkshire Amateur and then it’s been back to back clean sheets against Bridlington and Handsworth.

“I’m really pleased, it’s a side of our game we needed to tighten up. We’ve got players who can the ball in the net so if we defend well we give ourselves a good chance in every game.

“To see the defensive solidity and to see the keeper coming away with two clean sheets and the back four and the two sitting in front of them coming out with clean sheets is really pleasing for them. But we’re also really pleased that we have gone and put six in at the other end.”

Pontefract take a breather with no game this Saturday, but they are in action in the Pitching In Northern Premier League East next Tuesday when at home to Stocksbridge Park Steels (7.45pm).