WINSFORD United put behind them the disappointment of an early FA Cup exit after Mike Koral’s speed of thought secured a victory against Barnoldswick Town.

He was the first to react after the visitors had failed to clear with a quarter of an hour left, forcing home from close range.

After that, Blues held on.

They might have been more comfortable if substitute Danny Hudson had diverted Koral’s driven cross the other side of an upright shortly after Lee Duckworth’s men had taken the lead.

Callam Gardner went closer still after cutting inside from the left, but his shot struck a post with goalkeeper Connor King beaten.

The wide man also saw a dipping free-kick clear the crossbar by inches.

An end-to-end contest had started with Scott Taylor and Koral combining to tee up debutant Ryan Hopper, only for him to fire high.

Returning custodian Michael Langley blocked Zack Dale’s attempt with a boot when Barlick responded.

Koral’s cross from the right somehow failed to pick out a teammate as the home team applied pressure, although efforts from Taylor, Gardner and Danny Kerr did not test King.

The same ebb and flow followed after the interval, with Blues appearing more likely to score.

And so it proved when Koral pounced, adding to a debut goal during a 3-2 defeat at Maine Road seven days earlier.

Blues | Langley (GK), Skolorzynski, Bircumshaw, Kerr, Duckworth, Foster, Taylor, Hopper, Johnson (Hudson 75), Koral, Gardner Subs not used Middleton, Moores, Steele, Riley Goal Koral 74 Booked Skolorzynski

Barlick | King (GK), Blades, Crorken (Hodginson 75), Lloyd (Hill 73), Overson, Airey, Melia, Thompson, Hollindrake (Gorman 75), Boyle, Dale Subs not used Broadleday, McEneaney Booked Crorken

Referee Daniel Locker

Attendance 143

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