Report: West 1-3 Avro

Saturday 7th August 2021, Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

West 1 (Heathcote 72)
Avro 3 (Potts 9, 18, 89)
Att: 355

West’s return to the FA Cup proved to be short-lived as Avro secured a Preliminary Round tie at home to Runcorn Linnets.

Chris Rowley’s side were up against it inside 20 minutes as the NWCFL Premier Division side took a two-goal lead, and though Sam Heathcote’s free-kick sparked a late rally, the visitors ended the game as a contest in the closing moments.

Despite some promising approach play from West, usually courtesy of Aarron Grewal, clear chances were hard to come by and the visitors were clinical with their own opportunites to secure their first-ever win in the competition.

West made a fast start and Josh Tinker shot over from 30 yards with the first attack of the game, but Avro soon asserted their authority and took the lead after nine minutes. Louis Potts was in the right place at the right time to volley a loose ball past Andrew Jones after a free kick wasn’t properly cleared.

Avro established a commanding lead nine minutes later with a goal that was frustratingly similar from West’s point of view – this time it was a corner from the right, but the outcome was the same as Potts was free to nod into the net.

Much of the end of the first half and start of the second half consisted of West enjoying possession but running aground against a resolute Avro defence, with visiting keeper Jordan Lathan having precious little to do.

But just as the game looked as if it were petering out, Aarron Grewal’s quick feet won a free kick on the edge of the box, and Heathcote got the ball over the wall and past Latham for his third goal in three games.

Suddenly, a Tuesday night replay in Oldham looked a distinct possibility, and Ben Elliott had a golden opportunity to level the scores almost immediately when he ran through on goal. However, Latham came out on top and West’s big moment had been and gone.

Avro saw the game out in the closing moments and after a free header was sent over Jones’ bar, Potts completed his hat-trick with a low shot to seal the visitors’ progress and end West’s FA Cup dreams for another season.

West: A. Jones, Cook, Hancock, Tinker (C. Jones 56), Dibble, Heathcote, Matthews (Jackson 76), Gavin (Ryan 62), Elliott, Davis, Grewal. Not used: Delaney, Eme, Westall, Swift.

Eckersley’s Plumbers and Locksmiths Man of the Match: Aarron Grewal

Post-match reaction from Chris Rowley