In a thrilling FA Cup replay, West Auckland faced off against Bishop Auckland in a closely contested encounter that ultimately saw the visitors, Bishop Auckland, emerge victorious with a scoreline of 2-1. The first tie had ended in a goalless draw at Bishop Auckland, setting the stage for an intense rematch at West Auckland’s home ground.
The match kicked off with both teams showing their determination to control possession and make their mark on the game. In the opening ten minutes, the action was steady, with neither side managing to create clear-cut chances.
It was the 14th minute when Piotr Banda, making his debut appearance in goal, was called into action. He made an impressive save, tipping Bartliff’s dangerous cross away, with Thexton lurking in the box, ready to pounce.
Just a minute later, West Auckland’s Joey Hope had a chance of his own, racing up the other end and taking on Catterick in a one-on-one situation. Catterick saved well to deny Hope the opening goal.
In the 17th minute, West Auckland threatened again as Scott skilfully held off a defender and attempted to chip the opposition’s goalkeeper, but the ball found its way onto the roof of the net.
The 20th minute saw a promising attack from West as Watt cut in from the left, but Banda was quick to block the shot.
As the first half continued, Joey Hope capitalised on a defensive mistake in the 26th minute, squaring the ball to Bailey, who, unfortunately, dragged his effort wide of the target.
In the 30th minute, West Auckland came agonizingly close to breaking the deadlock. Hope delivered a precise corner, and Potter’s effort narrowly missed the far post, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
However, it was Bishop Auckland who, against the run of play, managed to open the scoring in the 31st minute with a header. Banda made a valiant effort to tip a shot onto the crossbar, but the rebound fell kindly for Bishop, allowing them to head the ball into an empty net.
West Auckland didn’t take long to respond. In the 50th minute, Hegarty levelled the score from the penalty spot after Hope was fouled in the box, reigniting hope for the home team.
But Bishop Auckland quickly regained the lead in the 51st minute with a deflected strike from the edge of the box, leaving Banda with no chance.
The match took another dramatic turn in the 64th minute when Bishop Auckland were reduced to 10 men after Thexton received a second yellow card for simulation, giving West Auckland a numerical advantage.
In the closing stages of the game, West Auckland made substitutions, with Blinco and Stafford coming on for Whitfield and Potter, and Nicholson replacing Wood.
Despite West Auckland’s best efforts, Banda’s heroic saves and the team’s relentless attacking intent, they were unable to find the equaliser. Bishop Auckland’s goalkeeper, Catterick, also played a crucial role in preserving their lead.
The final whistle blew, and the scoreboard read West Auckland 1, Bishop Auckland 2. Bishop Auckland advanced to the next round of the FA Cup, while West Auckland’s journey in the competition came to an end. It was a hard-fought battle, with Banda’s debut performance standing out as a bright spot for West Auckland despite the defeat.
West Auckland can now focus on a promising start to the season in the league and the FA Vase.