Pontefract Collieries take aim at more FA glory after back to back 1-0 wins

Winning goal: Jack Greenhough.
Winning goal: Jack Greenhough.

With their promotion bid back on track after successive victories in the BetVictor NPL North West it is cup glory on the agenda again for Pontefract Collieries this Saturday.

Craig Parry’s men have already tasted success in the FA Cup this season when they went further in the competition than previously in their history and now they turn their attention to trying to do the same in the Buildbase FA Trophy.

Colls have only played in the competition once so are up against little history, but are keen to make some of their own, beginning with Saturday’s home tie in the preliminary round when they host Glossop North End (kick-off 3pm).

The visitors play at the same level as Ponte, but are in the NPL South East Division, currently standing one place below Frickley Athletic in 15th.

They have met Colls already this season, however, with the Pontefract side coming out 3-1 winners of an FA Cup first qualifying round tie in early September when Layton Swaine, Connor Smythe and John Cyrus were scorers.

Ponte warmed up for the Trophy tie with another cup match on Tuesday night when they took on neighbours Glasshoughton Welfare in a West Riding County Cup first round tie.

They were tested by local rivals who have improved in recent weeks, but won through 1-0 thanks to a solitary goal from Jack Greenhough.

Colls rang the changes, giving some of their fringe players some valuable game time, including goalkeeper Daniel Morton who kept a clean sheet.

Gavin Rothery went close twice in the first half when Nathan Perks missed the best chance for Welfare when one-on-one with Morton.

The winner came after the break when Greenhough headed home from a corner.

Pontefract turned in a solid display in their latest league game when they beat Runcorn Linnets 1-0 at the Football Family Stadium.

They set off like a house on fire as they opened the scoring in the very first minute with Vaughan Redford heading home a cross from Jack Greenhough after Joe Lumsden had flicked on a Seb Malkowski goalkick.

The lively start continued with Redford only denied by a save low down from the visitors’ keeper and Runcorn creating their first chance only to be met by great defending from Connor Smythe and Jamie Williams.

Ponte went close again through a shot by Redford and a header from Mikey Dunn, but chances began to dry up for both teams as the game approached half-time.

Runcorn began the second half better, heading wide from a dangerous free-kick, but were defending again as Dunn went on a good run and left a defender on the floor before seeing his curling shot well saved.

It remained nip and tuck for the rest of the game without either side able to apply a finishing touch.

Lumsden went closest to adding a second goal for the hosts when he broke through into the area only to be denied in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Williams hit a shot over while Runcorn appeals for a penalty were waved away when their number 10 went down only to be judged to be the villain by the referee who booked him for simulation.

The victory kept Colls in fifth place in the North West Division. They are eight points behind leaders Workington AFC, but have four games in hand.

Assistant manager Craig Rouse said: “We had to dig in at spells, but that’s what you have to do in these leagues if you want to win them. In the end we were deserving of three points.

“We asked them to work harder out of possession and make sure we were more solid as a unit. You can see the results, we managed to dig out a clean sheet and I think everybody deserves credit for that, the work from the front three contributed to that, the midfield pair, the back four and the keeper.

“Sometimes those results are as pleasing as those when you beat teams four or five. We’ve come away knowing it was a tough game and we’ve picked up three points so we’re happy.”