Frickley let two-goal lead slip to crash out of FA Trophy

Goal scorer Nathan Valentine.
Goal scorer Nathan Valentine.

Frickley Athletic’s run in the FA Trophy was ended as it began as they crashed out to a disappointing heavy defeat at Shaw Lane in the first qualifying round last Saturday.

While the trophy carries a Wembley final, it is not the Blues’ priority this season after enduring a difficult start to the campaign. However, they will still have wanted a much better display than the one that saw them lose 6-2 to the team they were due to play in the county cup final last season, only for the controversial late cancellation.

Lee Morris’s men have become a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde team in recent weeks, going from big highs to big lows and after their superb display against title chasers Rushall Olympic, they followed up with a poor defensive showing to throw away a two-goal lead against a Shaw Lane team from the division below in the Evo-Stik League.

Frickley went into the game without several players as Nathan Curtis moved to Ossett Town in the week, Sam Akeroyd was on holiday, recent signing Joe Thornton was cup tied, Noel Burdett injured and on-loan Shiraz Khan unavailable as Halifax did not want him cup tied. But they were still able to put out a decent looking squad.

The Blues started brightly with Bailey Gooda going close with a great effort in the early minutes.

They were ahead on 15 minutes when a long ball over the Shaw Lane defence saw Luke Mangham control, turn and shoot home in fine style.

Five minutes later it was 2-0 as Nathan Valentine beat the home keeper with an exquisite chip from the edge of the area.

Frickley looked to be in cruise control, but maybe it appeared to be too easy as they seemed to stop playing and paid the price. Jake Beesley began the Shaw Lane comeback with a goal from a corner and it was all square at 2-2 in the 25th minute when former Blues favourite Gavin Allott netted.

Alex Byrne then beat keeper Sebastian Malkowski to make it 3-2 to the hosts at half-time.

Any hopes of a Frickley comeback after the break were dashed when Kieran Lugsden made it 4-2 eight minutes in and followed up with his second goal nine minutes later. Jack Tuohy rubbed salt into the wound with a late goal to make the final score 6-2.

It was a day to forget for Frickley, whose defensive stubbornness of the previous week went out of the window. But Valentine and Mangham gave it their all.