Winsford United 1-4 Pontefract Collieries

BLUES are on the lookout for a striker after bouncing out of the FA Vase.

Powerful Pontefract Collieries, currently top of The North East Counties Premier Division with a record of eight wins out of nine, took a grip of Saturday's second qualifying round tie with two first-half goals and the contest was over by the time Brandon Moores provided Witton's solitary response.

While Winsford struggled to live up to the physicality of their guests, being without a recognised striker brings its own difficulties.

The Guardian understands an approach has been made to a recognised centre forward with an impressive goal-scoring record ahead of Saturday's trip to Abbey Hey.

Seventeen-year-old Robbie Hatton looked a lonely figure up front with three burly defenders guarding him.

He did manage to get two shots on target as Blues tried to find a way back into the contest in the second half, but unfortunately neither of them troubled keeper Ryan Musselwhite unduly.

A couple of first-half chances were created by Blues, one when Ryan Hopper linked well with Ryan Steele but the latter’s shot flew inches wide of the post.

And then there was a Steele blast that seemed to be stopped by the hand of a defender, but referee Richard Holmes did not agree.

Gardner missed a clear-cut chance when faced with just custodian Ryan Musselwhite to beat.

But at the other end Winsford seemed unable to prevent crosses being fired in and paid the price.

Visiting skipper Mark Whitehouse rose unchallenged from a corner to head home the 20th-minute opener.

In injury time at the end of the first half Winsford suffered a further setback when a cross was turned into the net by Kane Reece.

Eli Hey was at the back post to nail two crosses for the third and fourth goals in the 63rd and 79th minutes.

A scramble in the Pontefract box saw Moores poke the ball over the line from close range for Winsford's solitary reply three minutes from time.

Winsford: Langley (GK), Skolorzynski, Bircumshaw, Sherwood (Rothwell 33), Middleton, Foster, Steele, Kerr, Hatton, Gardner (Pickering 72), Hopper (Moores 46).