And then there were seven.
The last time Jarrow Roofing kept a clean sheet was the first weekend of April. In nine outings this season, they’d scored 24 and conceded 22, while Congelton Town had put four past their opponents in each of the previous two rounds. “You just know it’s going to be a goalless draw,” said a bloke in a Whitley Bay manager’s coat and tartan cap, the clatter of studs on concrete simultaneously announcing the arrival of both teams.
Roofing were two ahead within six minutes, Paul Chow swiftly adding to John Campbell’s tenth goal in ten games. Ten minutes later it was two-all: Scott Sephton heading in after Roofing keeper Andy Hunter had juggled a simple catch, then Scott McGowan – “30 yards out and all the time in the world,” thought the man in tartan – shooting low into the net. “Kamikaze stuff, this,” spluttered one spectator. “They’re leaving four up for corners, man!
Congleton took the lead on 25 minutes, Declan Fletcher finding the gap between Hunter’s body and the post after the home side had gifted them possession in midfield. “There’s nowt between defence and attack,” Mr Kamikaze railed energetically. “They all want to be bloody prima donnas.” Brian Matthews scored a fourth before a deflated Roofing team managed a late rally, Campbell scoring his second and then denied a clear penalty when his foot was swept from under him. “We should have won by a mile but we gave daft goals away,” beaten manager Richie McLoughlin thought.
Congelton have a Northern League return in the next round, Whitley Bay winning through 4-2 on penalties after an eventful home replay in which Adam Shanks scored one goal, set up another and got a second yellow card just two minutes after Matlock Town’s Joel Purkiss had netted for the Evostik Premier League side. Substitute Robbie Williams was then sent-off within 15 minutes of replacing Bay’s second goalscorer, Samuel Norris, the nine men conceding a late equaliser by Ted Cribley before debutant Jack Siddall gave the increasingly dominant visitors an extra-time lead. With only two minutes left Bay’s Chris Reid levelled the tie again, adding the first of the home side’s successful penalties while Matlock had two efforts saved.
In the other games, Newton Aycliffe won through to the second qualifying round only four years after marking their competition debut with a 7-2 home defeat. “We had a good idea what to expect and it worked out exactly the way we expected it,” said Aycliffe’s Peter Dixon after first half goals from Matty Moffatt and Dennis Knight defeated Brighouse Town.
Washington hadn’t been as far as the first qualifying round since losing 5-0 at Horden Colliery Welfare in 1979, but saw off Runcorn Linnets with a 16th minute Mark Davison goal. Consett made it a hat-trick of Northern League victories with a 3-1 win over Colne, while Guisborough could still join them after holding Ashton United to a goalless draw away.
Dunston UTS were also level for long stages of their game at Kendal, but condeded three second half goals to lose out 5-2. “We totally fell apart in the last 30 minutes,” manager Billy Irwin told the Northern Echo. Like Richie McLoughlin, he’ll have another 12 months to reflect on what went wrong.