First hurdle fall again in FA Trophy

Tim ChannonFirst Team

A SPIRITED second half performance wasn’t enough to rescue a replay after a poor first half led to a 2-1 FA Trophy defeat at Stockport County.
The Seagulls, without Marc Williams because of a problem with the foot he had pinned a couple of years ago, were a goal down inside four minutes after poor defensive play allowed Scott Spencer to run in and score from a free kick, and although Liam Sharpe made a couple of fine saves, Stockport went 2-0 up on 39 minutes when Kristian Dennis cut in from the right and scored from 25 yards.
Despite some good spells of possession Colwyn Bay rarely looked like troubling home keeper Danny Hurst, although Obi Anoruo had a shot deflected narrowly wide.
But with Paulo Mendes introduced from the bench at half-time, Colwyn Bay were much better in the second half.
Rob Hopley hit the bar with a shot on the turn and a cross from Louis Moss looked set to reach the unmarked Mendes in front of goal until County defender Stephen O’Halloran stretched to head the ball over his own bar with a crucial interception.
Bay keeper Liam Sharpe produced a flying one-handed save from Richie Baker to prevent Stockport getting a third before Colwyn Bay got back in the game on 84 minutes with Danny Taylor heading in from close range after Anoruo’s header had rebounded off a post.
They pressed hard for an equaliser and Hurst did well to block a strong cross-shot from Anoruo after his powerful run into the area, Hopley was denied a penalty when he was pulled back by his shirt in the box, and the Bay were narrowly off target with two other efforts.
Stockport, however, held on for the win, despite having Chris Churchman sent off in added time for a second yellow card.
It is the fifth time in seven seasons that Colwyn Bay have fallen at the first hurdle in the FA Trophy, and manager Frank Sinclair put the blame on a below par first half display.
“We showed them too much respect in the first half and it took a rollicking at half-time for the boys to actually start having a go,” he said.
“We made the change by bringing Paulo on and he made a bit of a difference, taking defenders on and being positive on the ball going forward.
“We caused them problems and were unlucky in the end not get something out of it, but when you give a team a two goal start by conceding two poor goals, it is very hard to come back from that.
“I’m gutted because it was a chance to perform on a big stage and showcase our players, who I believe in, but we were just not at it in the first half and that cost us.”
Colwyn Bay: Sharpe, Taylor, Moss, Stephens, Royle, Noone (Hodgson 67mins), Buckley (Mendes 45mins), Anoruo, Hopley (c), Haywood, Baynes. Subs not used: Ollerenshaw, Sinclair, Pilliner.
Attendance: 1,452.