Pontefract Collieries coach frustrated at FA Cup exit but proud of players

Pontefract Collieries assistant manager Craig Rouse. Picture: James Heaton
Pontefract Collieries assistant manager Craig Rouse. Picture: James Heaton

Assistant manager Craig Rouse admitted it was frustrating to see Pontefract Collieries fail to take advantage of having an extra man for the last half-hour of their Emirates FA Cup tie at Ashton United.

Colls’ dreams of advancing to within two matches of the first round proper in the famous competition were dashed when they lost 1-0 despite their opponents having a player sent-off for violent conduct.

They had much more of the opportunities and possession, but paid the price for not creating enough clear cut chances according to Rouse.

He said: “We haven’t really done enough. We huffed and puffed and probably deserved to go out of the competition.

“Sometimes teams go down to 10 and it hampers you a little bit because the gaps disappear, teams drop deeper and close ranks a little bit.

“It was a frustrating game. It was there for the taking. We were in the ascendancy but without really doing anything. I think their keeper’s only made one big save.

“We had a good spell of pressure in the last 20 minutes of both halves, but if you don’t take chances and create chances you are not going to win games.”

It is back to the league now for Ponte, but Rouse was able to look back positively on the club’s FA Cup run. He added: “The focus is more on the league, but the cup has been a welcome distraction.

“We’ve earned a few pounds for the club, which is a good bonus, and we’ve made a little bit of history in taking the club as far as they’ve ever been in this competition. These players we’ve had for three of four years now keep creating history and they’ll continue to do the same.”

Colls’ best chance fell to Joe Lumsden as he turned well to get a good shot in, but he was denied by a fine save.

The goal that proved the winner came in the fifth minute as Ashton were awarded a penalty and Steven Tames put it away.

Ponte were soon back in action in the BetVictor NPL North West at Mossley on Tuesday night when they suffered a bit of a cup hangover and lost 3-1.

A poor first half display saw them two down to goals from Adam Morgan and Steve Mason.

Lumsden pulled a goal back and Colls played much better after the break. John Cyrus and Connor Smythe both went close to equalising before Ben Halfacre sealed Mossley’s victory three minutes from time.

Collieries finally have a home game to look forward to this Saturday following five successive away matches. They host Pickering in the league (3pm) and are looking for some big support as they aim to push their promotion claims now with the FA Cup out of the way.