Buildbase FA Vase

second qualifying round

Whitchurch Alport 4

Nuneaton Griff 1

A STEVE Jones hat-trick helped Alport into the first round proper of the Buildbase FA Vase at Yockings Park on Saturday.

Joe Cuff was also on the scoresheet for Whitchurch who were in command throughout this tie from virtually first whistle to last.

By the time Cuff had guided the Reds into the lead after four minutes with a neat finish beyond Joe Salisbury, Jones had already been denied by the Nuneaton stopper.

Alport swarmed all around the Griff penalty box in the early exchanges with Jud Ellis also testing Salisbury who was single-handedly keeping his side afloat.

Remarkably, despite Alport’s dominance and the gulf in class so obvious, Nuneaton drew level after 16 minutes to stun the home supporters.

Keeper Dave Parton was left exposed and with Alport claiming a foul in the build-up, Ross Proudlock could not believe his luck when he was left with just Parton to beat and all the goal in front of him.

Nuneaton’s joy – and amazement – was short-lived.

Jones was on hand to chest the ball down and volley smartly past Salisbury from 10 yards to profit from a decent knockdown by Stu Dickin.

Alport were not at their best defensively and there was a let-off when Michael Collins netted for Griff only to see the linesman’s flag raised on the far side.

The Reds came again and were playing some beautiful football from an attacking sense and it took a great headed clearance by Jordan Stain to repel Jones’ precision header from a Cuff cross.

Jones may be in the twilight of his career, but his experience from having played internationally for Northern Ireland is invaluable. He has always been a goalscorer and his second for Alport could well be up there with the best of them.

A jinking run of pace, agility and strength opened the route for an attempt on goal, but it still looked a tall task to expect the execution. Reds fans need not have worried, as he curled an absolute beauty just past the flailing hand of Salisbury and into the top corner.

With the first half into added-on time the visitors were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty when Parton mis-controlled the ball and appeared to foul Collins.

With the whole bench and virtually the entire team screaming for the penalty, the ref, who was miles away from the incident, waved play on. It would be almost the last time that Nuneaton would spend in the Whitchurch half.

The half-time team talk in the away dressing room appeared to be all about damage limitation as for almost the entire second 45, Alport stayed in possession with a wall of blue shirts behind the ball.

Cuff brought the save of the match from Salisbury with 20 minutes to go and three minutes later Jones completed his treble. Substitute Alex Hughes flicked on the header and Jones was away to go into a head-to-head confrontation with Salisbury.

His finish was textbook and he might have had another goal to celebrate had an offside flag not been raised shortly after.

Last Saturday, Alport bowed out of the FA Cup but with a realistic chance of progression if the draws are favourable, then dreams of Wembley might yet be realised in the Vase.

The next round will be played on Saturday, October 12.

West Midlands Regional League

Premier Division

Wem Town 0

Littleton 5

WEM Town have slipped to the bottom of the West Midlands Regional League Premier Division after they were well-beaten at home to Littleton on Saturday.

The Bowensfield men have just one win to their name in a season that promises to be a hard slog again to avoid relegation.

They were undone by a hat-trick from Benjamin Billingham while strikes from William Skelton and substitute James Ward added to the scoreline.

The club will now look to dust themselves down ahead of their derby clash with Shawbury Town next week.

A club spokesman posted on social media: “Deservedly beaten today, the boys tried their hardest but Littleton were far too good for us.

“We will work even harder to try and put things right. No better place than a local derby next week!”

The Reds are still level on points with Cradley Town, but have conceded 16 more goals and scored three fewer, meaning they are already facing a huge negative goal difference.

But Wem will also know that a run of wins could lift them into the top half with just five points between themselves and seventh-placed Pershore Town.

Bilston Town make up the rest of the bottom three, a point ahead of the bottom pair, while Shawbury – who host Wem on Saturday – are also only a point ahead.

Wem will end the month with a trip to high-flying AFC Bridgnorth.

Meanwhile, Shifnal Town and Bewdley Town are both still level on points as the former takes top spot on the basis of a superior goal difference.

Shifnal were beaten in the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday, with 2018/19 West Midlands Premier runners-up scoring the only goal of the game.

Worcester Raiders missed the chance to go joint-top when they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Pershore Town while Bridgnorth moved fourth with a 2-1 win over Darlaston Town.

Wednesfield and Dudley Sports cancelled one another out while Shawbury advanced in the Vase with a 3-0 win over Gornal Athletic.

Wolverhampton Casuals fell out of the competition with a 4-2 away defeat at Lichfield City as did their city rivals Wolverhampton Sporting Community, who lost 1-0 at Uttoxeter.

Cheshire Football League

League One

Cuddington 2

Malpas 2

MALPAS remain in mid-table of the Cheshire Football League League One after they threw away a two-goal lead at Cuddington on Saturday.

Malpas sit in eighth spot on eight points after six games with an identical won two, drawn two and lost two across their fixtures.

The Wrexham Road side will be looking to bounce back from 2018/19’s relegation but are already eight points behind early leaders Winstanley Warriors and Styal.

They travelled to near Northwich on Saturday with an inexperienced, part-time goalkeeper in Oli Hailes – usually a dominant midfielder for the Red and Blacks.

However, they took the lead when on the stroke of half-time a Josh Malcolmson thunderbolt from 30 yards out was enough to give them the breakthrough.

After the break, Dave Pearson added a second as Malpas looked to pick up a much-needed win.

But the home side struck back with goals from Karl Felton and Joshua Mainwaring, with the equalising goal coming minutes from the end.

However, the away side were happy with the point against a side also struggling to find their early-season form.

On Saturday, Malpas will be in J A Walton Cup action at Wrexham Road as they host Golborne Sports in a 3pm kick-off.

They then return to league action the following week with a home clash against Ford Motors before they make the trip to West Cheshire Division One side Heswall in the second round of the Cheshire Amateur Cup following their victory over Premier Division side Poynton, and will be hoping to pull off another shock result.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, none of the top three were in league action but Moore United and Maine Road Reserves played out a 3-3 draw.

There were 11 goals as Windle Labour hosted Sefton Athletic – the visitors coming out 6-5 winners in the Liverpool Cup.

Shropshire Premier Division

Stoke Heath 1

Prees United 4

PREES made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they ran out comfortable winners against Stoke Heath in the Shropshire Premier League.

The Rec Men controlled the game for large parts and took the lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Summer signing Nathan Brayford has had a big impact already this season, and was on hand to poke home at the near post from a Ryan Embleton corner.

Prees doubled their lead just before the half-hour mark.

This time it was Embleton’s turn to get on the scoresheet. He broke free of the Stoke Heath backline before finishing well to score his sixth goal of the season.

Stoke Heath pulled one back on the stroke of half-time when they were awarded a penalty, and they made no mistake from 12 yards.

But Prees restored their two-goal parity just after the restart. Macauley Clifton, who has impressed in the opening five games this term, rifling into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Brayford, who earlier bagged Prees’ first of the day, finished by scoring his second and Prees’ fourth as he made no mistake from close range after a brilliant team goal.

The win lifts Prees into fourth spot in the league, as Wrockwardine Wood Juniors hold a one-point lead over Gobowen Celtic and Wellington Amateurs, with Prees a further point back.

Prees face a tough task this Saturday when they host last season’s league winners Shrewsbury Juniors, who sat the weekend out, with a 3pm kick-off.