Vics' crashed out of the F.A Trophy this afternoon, losing by the odd goal in three to visitors Stocksbridge Park Steels F.C. Despite being in control for long periods of the game, the Green and Whites found themselves 2-0 down at half-time. Skipper' Mike Clarke reduced the arrears late on via a thumping header, but Steels' held on in the face of late relentless pressure to emerge with the win and a place in the second qualifying round.


Sunday 1st November 2015. COMPETITION - The F.A Trophy 1st Qualifying Round VENUE - The NetDec Stadium, Northwich


LINE-UP'S - Vics' - Springthorpe, Byrne, Duxbury, Astles (Cook 70'), Clarke (C), Krou, Summerskill, Roddy (caution) (Amis 46'), Bennett (Burnett (D2) 70'), Howard, Williams.  Un-used subs' - Mo Ali, Smith (GK.)

D2 - Denotes second debut.


Stocksbridge P.S - D.Reay, Meade, Coleman (S/O 89'), Thompson (Laight 73'), McFadyen (C), Cardwell (M.Reay 19'), Rhodes (Gregory 65'), Biggins, Ruthven, Lumbsden (caution), Hinchliffe.  Un-used sub' - Hilton.


GOALS Vics' - Mike Clarke 78'. Stocksbridge P.S - Scott Ruthven 33', Joe Lumbsden 45'.


Unavailable for Vics' - Jimmy Ball (away.)


Visiting Steels' keeper Dave Reay’s handling and shot-stopping was crucial as Vics' bombarded the away side throughout the match. The game-plan worked for the visitors' and Stocksbridge were able to catch Vics' out after surviving severe pressure in the opening half-hour. Chances fell to Vics' aplenty in the first 30 minutes; most notable of those were on 8' when Jordan Williams headed wide from a good position following a left-wing cross by Richie Bennett; and Iain Howard's grass-cutting shot was tipped just wide of the post by Dave Reay on 25'. Steels' took the lead on 33' when a Joe Lumsden deflected strike via Ryan Astles' out-stretched leg helped break the deadlock. The ball looped wickedly over Mason Springthorpe and he managed to palm it onto the crossbar. Scott Ruthven reacted quickest and scored a simple tap-in from a yard out. Vics' were un-deterred; Brian Summerskill's diving header from 6 yards out was well saved by Reay in Steels' goal, following a great cross in by Richie Bennett on 39'. Stocksbridge earned a free kick in a dangerous area on the stroke of half-time. The ball was whipped in from the right by Rory Coleman and Joe Lumsden rose in between Mike Clarke and Ryan Astles to flick a header into the far corner from 12 yards out.


HALF-TIME - Vics' 0-2 Stocksbridge.


PICTURED - Mike Clarke guides in a fierce header to get Vics' back into the game on 78'.

Clarkie Goal Stocks


The second half opened and continued in much the same way as the first half, with Vics' dominating proceedings again. On 57' an Iain Howard left-foot piledriver from distance was beaten away brilliantly by that man Dave Reay in goal again, then on 63' Brian Summerskill's driven free-kick from 22 yards out only just cleared the crossbar with glove-man Dave Reay looking beaten for once. Ten minutes later on 73', Gary Burnett; on his second Vics' debut - looked to have halved the deficit when his lob from just outside the box struck the top of the crossbar with Reay in no-mans land after he rushed out of his goal following a long ball into the box by Stuart Cook. On 78' Vics' finally scored when skipper' Mike Clarke thumped in a header from 3 yards out into the roof of the net after Jordan Williams' perfect delivery from a corner kick. Vics' then swarmed all over the Steels' in search of an equalising goal. Steels' threw everything in the way of the attacks by the Green and Whites and they went down to ten men on 89' when Rory Coleman stupidly kicked out at Vics' full-back Alex Byrne for no apparent reason. Four minutes were added and Steels' held out for a valiant, but surprising victory.


Vics' M.O.M - Brian Summerskill. A constant in the Vics' engine room and ever ebullient on a day when nothing went right for Vics'.  


Vics' assistant manager Dave Conlon's reaction to the F.A Trophy exit -

A frustrating afternoon, Dave. Despite being on top for large periods we couldn't make the breakthrough. We just lacked a little control and composure in the last third - Stocksbridge defended manfully most of the game. 


Yes Jamie, 'frustrated' is a good way to sum up how we felt afterwards. We have been on a fantastic run so far this season, and we wanted to progress as far as possible in this competition but unfortunately it wasn't to be. You could analyse the game for days as to why the result ended that way but ultimately we didn't quite do enough and credit must go to a well organised and disciplined Stocksbridge team. You have several games a season like that and what's most important is the way we react in the next game. We dominated the game in terms of possession, chances created, shots on targets etc but as you mentioned we couldn't find that bit of extra quality in the final third. It was also disappointing to concede in the way we did. Mason did well to get his hand to the deflected shot that led to the first goal and unfortunately the ball came back off the bar for them to score an easy tap-in. We were then disappointed in our own sloppy play that led to the second goal, several poor decisions from us resulted in them going in at half-time 0-2 up. We 'huffed and puffed' in the second half but missed a few chances as we dominated the game and credit must go to Stocksbridge as mentioned for the way they defended and managed to see the game out. We need to take this defeat on the chin and prepare for Wednesday's game at home v Lancaster, and try to start another unbeaten run like we did after the Clitheroe defeat. Wednesday will be a tough game as Browny (Phil Brown Lancaster Manager) has added a few players to the squad since he took over and will slowly but surely be putting his own stamp on the team and I'm sure they will prove to be tough opposition. Lastly thanks to the fans for the support on Sunday, and good luck to Stocksbridge for the rest of the season.
Match report & interviews by Jamie Dewsbury.