St Helens 3 Chadderton 5

Adam Donohue made his debut for St Helens Town
Adam Donohue made his debut for St Helens Town

A match in the FA Vase was a welcome break for St Helens Town, who had endured a three-game win-less run and two successive defeats against Atherton LR and City of Liverpool.

They had endured good recent success at this stage, progressing in the past two years against Irlam and Winterton Rangers.

However, it would be a tough ask to keep up this record as they faced a Chadderton side who sat just outside the play-offs in this all First Division tie, and had come off the back of a 5-1 victory against Ashton Town.

The form book suggested a victory for the away side; but the first half was anything but...

The departure of both George and Chris Lomax from the club in midweek meant that the burden was back on Andy Gillespie to spearhead the St Helens Town attack on his own, as he looked to recapture last season’s form that had saw him do this with aplomb.

Gillespie seemed to have no problem in doing this as he collected Sam Sheens pass to fire past the goalkeeper and give Town the lead after only 12 seconds!

The blues looked confident, and played with the freedom and fluidity that we have saw many times already this season, which if stretched over the full 90 minutes should see Town much further up the table.

Gillespie added his second on 12 minutes as he broke through the Chadderton back line, and had time to look for a pass, none was forthcoming so drilled the ball into the far corner, doubling Town’s lead.

Town had further chances to extend their lead through two efforts in quick succession from Ste Rigby, but he could not capitalise.

Neither could any Town forward on a superb Danny Greene cross, as killing the game off was necessary.

Ryan Taylor came into the team as goalkeeper, making his first appearance in just over three years, incidentally in this stage of the Vase against Pontefract Collieries.

He was rarely tested in the opening half, but saw a deep free kick late as it bounced off his body into the path of Devante Jacobs to tap home and give the visitors a life line heading into the second half.

Town started the second half somewhat flat compared to that of the first, as Chadderton started to have the upper hand in the game. They came close through James Curley as an effort well described by his surname went wide of the far post.

Alan Gillespie and Nick Matthews realised the drop in tempo and brought Phil Williams off the bench to inject some pace into the game. Town started to create meaningful chances, first through an Andy Presho driving run that saw his shot wide, and then a Sam Sheen volley that evaded the goal.

However, the same frailties lie for Town as they let another lead slip, just after the hour mark. A chest down from Scott Foster was struck sweetly as his effort from 25 yards went in off the post to level the tie.

Town were then disallowed a goal for a push on the goalkeeper before the chance of the match went begging. A poor clearance from Chadderton goalkeeper Dane Smith found Danny Greene with acres of space and time to slot into an open net, instead the right midfielder put his shot wide of the post, to the disbelief of Volair Park.

Chadderton completed their comeback through a mix up from Ryan Taylor and debutant Adam Donohue allowed Curley to walk the ball into the net.

They then added a fourth after a sweeping counter attack found Foster to grab his brace. Town pulled one back through a deflected Phil Williams shot that went in off the post but Chadderton restored their two goal advantage moments later as a pullback found Jack Tuohy to complete the scoring.

St Helens Town (Andy Gillespie, 1, 12) (Williams, 84) 3 – 5 Chadderton (Jacobs, 41) (Foster, 63, 79) (Curley, 72) (Tuohy, 85)

Town’s 30 year anniversary season of their famous win in 1986/87 will not end in a fairytale repeat; however the league now has to be a priority as they look to climb back up the table.

St Helens now face local rivals Widnes at home on Thursday night before travelling to Daisy Hill on September 17.