Detailed views from both sides as Irlam dump Winterton out of Vase

Journey’s end at the Third-Round stage of the FA Vase for Winterton Rangers; their fantastic run in the competition came to a conclusion after a 2-0 defeat to North West Counties Premier League side Irlam FC – and Rangers Manager, Rob Watson quickly turned his disappointment into redoubling his side’s efforts in search of their primary objective, writes Colin Muncie.

After a goalless first half in front of a fine West Street crowd of 120, a Connor Martin penalty after 49 minutes, and a Marcus Perry strike after 78 minutes sent the visitors into the fourth round.

Rob told the Bootiful game, “they weren’t two goals better than us – but that’s football. We had two sending’s off which, having seen them back, certainly weren’t worthy of reds. If this was at the top level, they’d win an Appeal – but it’s not worth it at our level. We will go back to our main priority and that’s to win this League.”

“Results were unkind to us yesterday – so we need to get back to our winning ways quickly.”

Irlam Manager, Michael Dodd has become a bit of a familiar face at Kendall Towers, having seen off Handsworth and Hemsworth in previous rounds – and he felt that his side had the better of last week’s abandonment and its impact on yesterday’s replay.

“With the issues last week, both teams were in a bit of a unique situation before the game,” Michael admitted. “We had the chance to have a good look at each other for 45 minutes a week earlier, before then playing again a week later. We anticipated that due to the feeling around Winterton that they had the better of the first game’s exchanges that they would play the same system and pretty much the same players, which they did. We altered quite a bit, both to counteract them and get some of our most dangerous players on the ball in better areas. We worked on a new system in training, discussed it in-depth with players and we couldn’t be happier with how the players went about implementing it.”

Michael gave TBG his take on the ninety minutes. “After a brilliant first 10 minutes, we had to defend a little bit in the first half, again without ever really being cut open,” he told us. “Whitey made one great save, coming from a big deflection in the first half. We faced a bit of adversity with Ryan Ledson forced off after just 25 minutes with a head injury; but on the other hand, the early introduction of Liam Pollitt gave us a real boost from that point onwards.”

“We felt that if we could just up our intensity 10% in the second half, that we could take the game away from them and that’s what happened really,” Michael reported. “The move that led to the penalty was a great move with all of the front three involved. There were shouts that the foul on Jordan from the keeper was outside the box but it was very tight and if so, the keeper would have to have been sent off! I would probably prefer the penalty and a yellow if the shoe was on the other foot. Connor stepped up and finished brilliantly as we know he can do. Marcus’ goal killed the game and his composure in the finish is what impressed me the most; a chance he probably would have snatched at 12 months ago. To be running at full speed from Whitey’s pass and then finish over the keeper from 20 yards out really shows his quality.”

Michael admitted that the sending’s-off killed the contest. “Two red cards soon after our second goal signalled the end of the game as a contest really, but I can’t say I had a great view of either,” he told us. “If I am being completely honest, and out of respect to Winterton I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t believe it to be true, we really should have made it at least 3 or 4. We were in front of goal so many times, both the woodwork and the goalkeeper keeping us out.”

“I was absolutely delighted that we showed our quality,” Michael concluded, “even with our captain and a couple of others not there on the day, we really showed the strength in our squad to get into the next round. We enjoyed the coach journey home and we look forward to facing Cadbury Athletic in the next round.”

The Bootiful Game would like to thank Michael Dodd and Irlam FC for their splendid contributions to the Bootiful Game, and we wish them well for the rest of the Competition.

We’d also like to congratulate Rob Watson and Winterton Rangers on a brilliant run in this years’ FA Vase.

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