REPORT: Widnes 0-5 Handsworth Parramore
Widnes suffer heaviest defeat under Joey Dunn in debut FA Cup tie
Widnes FC’s first-ever FA Cup campaign was over before it ever really got it going as Yorkshire-based side Handsworth Parramore ran out 5-0 winners at the Halton Stadium on Sunday.
John Hill’s header gave the visitors a narrow lead at the break with Joseph Thornton extending Handsworth’s advantage two minutes into the second half. An Aaron Moxon double put the tie beyond all doubt before Daniel Buttle’s strike two minutes from time sunk Widnes to their heaviest defeat under Joey Dunn.
After a positive pre-season, manager Dunn named three debutants in the starting line-up as Louie Mackin, Michael White and Colin Quirk all made their first competitive appearances for Widnes.
It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides with Thornton twice shooting over before James Ashmore blazed wide inside the opening minutes.
Widnes were limited to half-chances with George Lomax latching on to Kev Towey’s flick-on only to fire over before Alex Davies drove into the penalty area but could only shoot into the gloves of Handsworth ‘keeper Christopher Butt.
Chances continued to fall the way of the visitors and they took the lead with 25 minutes on the clock. John Hill, who had headed inches wide moments earlier, popped up again in the area to direct a towering header into the back of the net beyond ‘keeper Mackin.
Widnes went in search of a reply and almost hit back within three minutes. Jay Roberts advanced forward and slipped a clever pass through to Towey. The stand-in skipper still had some work to do and he did it well, engineering space for a chipped effort towards the back-post that was superbly clawed away by Parramore ‘keeper Butt.
Little happened of note after that during the first half’s remaining minutes, though Handsworth still remained in control of the proceedings and they continued to keep their hosts frustrated.
It was clear that the next goal would determine the direction of the game and it was Handsworth who grabbed the crucial second goal. Thornton found himself in space on the far side and was given time to roll a shot inside of the near-post to extend the visitors’ advantage.
Handsworth had maintained their stranglehold from the first half, limiting Widnes to long-range efforts that failed to trouble ‘keeper Butt. Quirk showed good footwork before striking wide of the upright with Davies trying his luck from 30 yards following the hour-mark only for his shot to sail wide.
Midway through the second half, Handsworth added a third, killing any faint hopes of a Widnes comeback. High pressure up the field forced Sam Sheen into an uncharacteristic error with Patrick Lindsay intercepting the loose ball, finding Aaron Moxon in space who finished with aplomb.
Dunn looked to strikers Chad Whyte and Billy Webb with one last roll of the dice but the visitors went from strength-to-strength, keen to add to their tally with a fourth goal arriving after 80 minutes.
A moment of brilliance from earlier goalscorer Moxon allowed him to bag his second of the afternoon, turning Mike Burke inside out before converting from the edge of the box – all-but ensuring Handsworth’s place in the Preliminary Round with a trip to Rotherham-based Parkgate.
To Widnes’ dismay, Handsworth were not finished there and Daniel Buttle went on to complete the scoring two minutes from time as the winger raced on to Moxon’s through-ball and beat Roberts for pace before arrowing a shot beyond the on-rushing Mackin to compound the hosts’ misery.
Widnes will be looking to bounce back from FA Cup disappointment as their league campaign gets underway on Saturday with a trip to West Didsbury & Chorlton before their home opener against Abbey Hey on the following Tuesday night.