Burnicle strikes late as West reach third round of the FA Vase

Thackley AFC 0-1 West Auckland Town

Adam Burnicle’s late second-half strike earned West Auckland a 1-0 win over Thackley AFC in the second round of the FA Vase at the Mitton Group Stadium.

Shane Bland produced heroics in the 77th minute to keep out Luke Robinson’s spot kick following a clumsy challenge from Ross Colquhoun.

However, with nine minutes remaining, substitute Burnicle struck a fatal blow as his right-footed shot sailed into the net to send West into the third round.

Gary Forrest made four changes to the side which beat Dunston UTS in midweek with Liam Hegarty, Ross Colquhoun, Tom Portas and Amar Purewal replacing Lewis Dodds, Chris Hunter, Alex Francis and Adam Burnicle.

Heading into the contest, West were sat in 7th in Division One meanwhile Thackley, who are in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division are positioned in 18th and despite both teams being at each end of the table it promised to be a mouth-watering clash.

The opening half hour was a scrappy affair with very few chances from either side as the windy conditions made it tougher to move the ball forward.

In the 38th minute with their first sight at goal, West had a great chance to take the lead as Nathan Fisher’s cross was whipped in towards the back post towards fellow skipper Purewal, who was denied with a vital interception from captain Paul Whiteley.

With half-time fast approaching, Thackley posed a threat themselves as Pat McGuire’s in swinging corner flew across the face of goal with no one able to get a decisive touch for the hosts.

After the interval, the contest started to liven up and within six minutes, Fisher was in a goal-scoring position following Thomas Price’s exceptional through ball, though the striker could only divert his left-footed shot inches past the post in what was a huge opportunity to break the deadlock.

In the 57th minute, Adam Mitchell found some space just outside the 18-yard box and sent his curling effort just over the bar as West were in control of the tie.

The hosts responded on the 70-minute mark as Ray Sibanda hit one from distance which was comfortably dealt with by Bland.

Seven minutes later, Bland was called into action once more as Thackley were awarded a penalty when Colquhoun brought down Robinson inside the box and from the resulting spot-kick, Robinson stepped up only to be kept out with a spectacular save from Bland, who was determined to pick up a second consecutive clean sheet.

In the 81st minute, West punished the hosts as Mitchell’s corner was parried by Luke Wilson into the path of Burnicle, who chested it down and delivered a brilliant strike which swept through multiple Thackley players before finding the bottom corner as they await their next opponents in today’s third round draw.

Next up for West is another away trip as they make the journey to Penrith in Division One action on Saturday (15:00).

Thackley AFC – Wilson, Hendrie, Rothel, Whiteley (c), Hargreaves, White, McGuire, Hines (Storey, 71), Robinson, Simpson (Ngoe, 60), Sibanda(Marsh, 89)

Subs not used – Thompson, Basi

West Auckland – Bland, Morris, Cobain, Colquhoun, Price, Hegarty (Burnicle,73), Snaith, Portas, Fisher (c), Purewal, Mitchell

Subs not used – Dodds, Coulson, Connor, McKeown

Goal – Burnicle (81)

Referee – Benjamin Tomlinson

Attendance – 148

Report by Harry Crowe

Picture by Andy Mitchell

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