St Helens Town exited the FA Vase on Saturday after a mauling at the hands of a Rochdale Town team who had already beaten them twice in the league this season.
The hosts almost opened the scoring in the first minute when Liam Bennion headed wide when unmarked centrally and at the other end Johan Du Toit should have opened the scoring for the visitors but he headed a Declan Gregson cross straight at the keeper.
Midway through the half Rochdale broke the deadlock when Bennion advanced down the right channel before squaring to an unmarked Jonny Thompson to side foot home. St Helens skipper Andy Gillespie saw an effort from the left of the box held by Michael Smith in the home goal and Graham McLoughlin was alert to twice deny Thompson his second. With St Helens looking to level Gillespie linked with Du Toit who fired an effort at the keeper when well placed and the visitors breathed a sigh of relief when first Gareth Hill and then Lee Kershaw cannoned efforts off the crossbar with McLoughlin beaten. Just before the interval the scores were level when Du Toit won the ball and then linked with Gillespie getting the ball back on the edge of the box before finding Gregson who made no mistake firing past Smith to send the sides in level at the break.
Soon after the restart Rochdale went back in front when Thompson latched onto a long ball from the keeper and slotted into the bottom right hand corner of the net. With an hour on the watch Gillespie had a free kick parried by the home stopper and the home team were able to smuggle the rebound away.
The winners of this cup tie were decided by a spell of three goals in five minutes saw the result put beyond doubt. The first goal saw a quickly take set piece on the right culminate in Hill crossing for Bennion to touch home off the inside of the left hand upright and this was quickly followed by a controversial goal which saw the assistant referee flag for offside then after a consultation with the referee change his mind and Ryan Burgess’s poked finish was allowed to stand. The period ended with substitute Scott Alfrey collecting a knock down and advancing 1 on1 with McLoughlin, poking the ball past him into the bottom right hand corner of the net. Alfrey added a sixth before St Helens were awarded a spot kick for hand ball and Gillespie sent the keeper the wrong way to round off the scoring on a disappointing afternoon for St Helens Town.
St Helens Town are back in league action this Saturday (10th October) at Brocstedes Park on Non-League with a “Pay What You Want” admission promotion and a copy of Football Manager 2016 available to win kick off is 3pm. The following Tuesday (13th October) Widnes visit Brocstedes Park with a 7.45pm kick off.