THE Seagulls eased into Monday’s draw for the next round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 3-0 home victory over Stocksbridge Park Steels (Aug 19).
They led 1-0 at half-time with Jamie Rainford scoring from Astley Mulholland’s pass on 25 minutes and then wrapped up victory with second half goals from Dan Collins and Astley Mulholland.
In a bright start to the game Rainford brought a diving save out of visitors’ keeper David Reah before firing the Bay in front and Josh Brizell, a late replacement for injured Shaun Holden, found the net from Will Booth’s clever pass – only for the flag to go up for offside.
While the score stayed at 1-0 Stocksbridge were always in the game and Matt Cooper had to make an important one-on-one save to deflect a shot from Joe Lumsden for a corner from which Rory Coleman volleyed wide.
There was more danger early in the second half when Scott Ruthven slid in at the far post but couldn’t direct the ball on target.
Bay needed a second goal to settle, and it came on 59 minutes.
Will Booth saw a 2o yard free kick tipped round the post at full stretch by the keeper and from the corner Dan Collins headed in from close range for his first goal for the club.
Jamie Rainford had two more chances but saw his shots deflected for corners and Jack Hindle looked very unlucky to have a goal ruled out for offside after a fine move saw Astley Mulholland’s break free on the right had set up a tap in.
However, a third goal did come on 77 minutes when a sublime passing move sent Mulholland clear to cap a man of the match performance with his fourth goal in three games.
Stocksbridge, to their credit, kept trying and Matt Cooper had to produce an excellent save to turn a Ruthven shot round the post to keep his second clean sheet in three games.
One disappointing note was that Kyle Jacobs, who did really well in the first half on his recall, pulled a hamstring just before half-time and could be sidelined for four to six weeks.
Shaun Holden (ankle) and Louis Barnes (ankle) both missed the game through injury, but Gaz Grant came through well in his first full game after injury and Danny Bartle also got a few minutes under his belt after being out for a month with an ankle problem.
Afterwards manager Phill Hadland said he was delighted with the win.
“We’d have take 3-0 before the game all day long and it was a good day at the office, although there are certainly improvements that still need be made in some areas – but then that is my job to sort that.
“The most pleasing thing for me was that we increased competition for places, because we had players who haven’t played a lot (Kyle Jacobs, Josh Brizell and Gaz Grant) coming in and doing a great job.
“Jack Kelleher has also come on as a sub in the last two games and done well.
“I am gutted for Kyle Jacobs because he was playing really well before he pulled his hamstring and now it looks as though he could be out for a while.
“Josh Brizell did well as a late replacement for Shaun Holden, who injured his ankle in training on Thursday, and Gaz Grant also came through well after his injury. The back three (Gaz, Dan Collins and Sam Barnes) looked very solid, and were helped by Matt Cooper in goal constantly talking.
“I thought Will Booth also did well. He knows he has areas he needs to improve, but he scored a great goal on Tuesday and was close getting another today.
“Danny Andrews did well playing out of position in centre mid, while Astley Mulholland was definitely man of the match. He is on fire at the moment.
“He has always had blistering pace, but now he’s providing an end product with his goals (seven in nine games including pre-season) and he’s a real threat.”
Colwyn Bay: Matt Cooper, Kyle Jacobs (Liam Tuner 44mins), Josh Brizell, Danny Collins, Sam Barnes (c), Gaz Grant, Jack Hindle (Danny Bartle 78mins), Will Booth, Jamie Rainford (Jack Kelleher 70mins), Astley Mulholland, Danny Andrews. Subs not used: Kris Leigh, Luke Horrocks and Anthony Griffith.