The Non-League Football Paper - - FA VASE 2ND ROUND QUALIFYING - By Phil Brennan STAR MAN: Joe Rath­bone (Avro) EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: ★★★★★

ON A his­toric day for the club, Avro shrugged aside the early prob­lem of go­ing down to ten men to en­joy a com­fort­able vic­tory in the club’s first ever ap­pear­ance in a national cup com­pe­ti­tion.

The home side earned them­selves at least one more game in this sea­son’s Vase af­ter brush­ing aside fel­low Hall­mark Se­cu­rity out­fit Barnton.

In the third minute, vis­it­ing striker Steve War­bur­ton burst through a static home de­fence only to be dragged back by Daniel Grimshaw, the full-back re­ceiv­ing a straight red card for the foul.

Far from strug­gling with a man fewer, the home side dom­i­nated the re­main­ing 87 min­utes, keep­ing pos­ses­sion com­fort­ably and scor­ing three goals with­out re­ply.

Joint man­ager Lee O’Brien was full of praise for his side: “To say I’m sat­is­fied is an un­der­state­ment. We wanted a re­ac­tion af­ter los­ing last week, and when we went down to ten men so early I’ll ad­mit I was a bit wor­ried. But the bot­tle and bat­tling qual­i­ties from the lads was noth­ing short of bril­liant.”

The home side took a de­served lead on 16 min­utes when full-back Sam Rath­bone swept home a Jake Pol­lard cor­ner kick, and it was some­what of a sur­prise that they only led by a sin­gle goal at the break such was their dom­i­nance.

Skip­per Louis Potts calmed any chance of nerves creep­ing into the game when he took ad­van­tage of poor de­fend­ing by Barnton early in the sec­ond half, crash­ing home from 25 yards past a stranded Aaron Lyons in the vis­i­tors’ goal.

Home keeper Jor­dan Latham was a vir­tual spec­ta­tor through­out, his only saves of note were from long-dis­tance ef­forts. When the vis­i­tors fi­nally sparked to life late in the sec­ond half, on the two oc­ca­sions that they man­aged to get past Latham, his clean sheet was guar­an­teed thanks to spec­tac­u­lar goal line clear­ances from vet­eran striker Mike Norton and goalscorer Rath­bone.

Sub­sti­tute Phil Armstrong fin­ished the scor­ing with the goal of the game

on 79 min­utes, his sweet vol­ley capped a fine flick-on from Norton.

For the home side, the younger of the Rath­bone brothers, Joe, be­lied his 18 years with a mas­ter­ful dis­play in the cen­tre of the park, break­ing up any threat of at­tack while al­ways look­ing for an at­tack­ing pass.

Vis­it­ing man­ager James McShane was mag­nan­i­mous in de­feat say­ing “With­out doubt the bet­ter team won on the day, I ex­pected them to tire as the game went on, but they were still full of run­ning in added time.”

O’Brien added: “We have a big squad so the com­pe­ti­tion for places is huge here. We told the lads that they had to earn a vic­tory to­day, and ob­vi­ously they took ev­ery­thing on board and coped with the loss of Dan re­ally well.”

PIC­TURE: Phil Brennan

HIGH FIVE: Avro’s play­ers cel­e­brate with goalscorer Sam Rath­bone


Sam Rath­bone scores the open­ing goal

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