Hebburn Town 0-2 West Auckland Town
West Auckland Town produced a superb defensive display to beat fellow Northern League side Hebburn Town 2-0 and set up a home tie against Chertsey Town in the last eight of the FA Vase.
Gary Forrest’s side got off to the perfect start inside 18 minutes when Adam Burnicle’s teasing cross was inadvertently diverted in by Jack Donaghy as the windy conditions presented few first half chances.
After the restart, West doubled their lead on 52minutes after a stunning 40-yard run from Amar Purewal before slotting the ball beyond Andrew Jennison as opposing keeper Shane Bland recorded a fourth successive clean sheet in the competition and helped his side seal a place in the quarter-finals.
Having rescheduled the contest from last weekend following the wintry weather, Forrest made just the one change from the narrow defeat to Newton Aycliffe a fortnight ago with Jamie Cobain making way for Burnicle as West lined up in a 4-3-3 formation.
In front of record-breaking crowd with over 1300 in attendance, Scott Oliver’s side started brighter and created the first chance inside nine minutes as Andrew Stephenson found some space on the edge of the area and saw his right-footed shot expertly pushed away by Bland to keep the score on level terms in the early exchanges.
West began to gain momentum and took the lead in bizarre fashion as a clever one-two in midfield between Alex Francis and David Dowson resulted in the latter stretching the Hornet’s defence to pick out Burnicle, who’s low cross was mistakenly sliced in off the left-foot of Donaghy leaving Jennison rooted to the spot.
With the wind becoming increasingly more challenging, chances became limited and West had to wait until the 29th minute before setting up another decent opportunity to try and extend their lead. Lewis Dodds’ interception on the half-way line found its way into the feet of Dowson who then guided it towards Purewal only to deliver a curlingeffort just wide of the target.
Seven minutes after the restart, West inflicted more misery on Hebburn in extraordinary circumstances as Purewal collected the ball near the centre circle and went on a remarkable run, darting into the Hornet’s nest before calmly placing the ball into the bottom corner to spark scenes of jubilation in the visitor’s technical area.
As the clock started to run out, Hebburn frantically through more men forward in search of getting back into the tie but two quick fire saves from Bland to deny both Graeme Armstrong and substitute Jack Robson looked to be decisive with only a quarter of an hour remaining.
Heading into the final few minutes, Oliver’s side were awarded a free-kick in which Michael Richardson stepped up and to his disbelief was kept out by Bland as the Auckland goalkeeper tipped his effort over the bar to ensure not only another clean sheet but also the last remaining Northern League side still in the competition.
West are once again in cup competition action on Tuesday evening when they welcome Division Two side Tow Law Town to the Wanted Stadium for a League Cup quarter-final encounter (19:30).
Hebburn Town – Jennison, Gilhespy, Shaw, Spence, Storey, Donaghy, Tibb-Fuller, Stephenson, Armstrong, Richardson, Sullivan
Subs – Chow, Wallace, Robson, Smith, Hubery
West Auckland – Bland, Hegarty, Price, Colquhoun, Hunter, Portas, Francis, Dodds (c), Dowson, Purewal, Burnicle
Subs – Morris, Cobain, Connor, Heaney, Coulson
Goals – Donaghy o.g (18), Purewal (52)
Referee – Sam Mulhall
Attendance – 1310
Report by Harry Crowe
Picture by Andy Mitchell