WIGAN Robin Park progressed to the second round of the FA Vase thanks to a comfortable 3-1 victory at Cheadle Town last Saturday.
The Robins were two-up at half time but it could have been more, with Colin Quirk seeing an early spot-kick saved by Town custodian Steve Piggott.
Park didn’t let this affect them and piled the pressure on with wave after wave of attack and on the half-hour mark were rewarded with another stonewall penalty after Richie Livingston was upended just as he was shooting for goal.
This time Phil Howard sent Piggott the wrong way to open the scoring.
Soon after Ian Rowlands had the ball in the back of the net for the Robins, but the referee had spotted a handball in the build-up.
However Rowlands got his reward and Wigan got their second on 43 minutes when the full-back went on a storming run down the right, before cutting in and hitting a left-footed shot that Piggott could only help into the net.
The second-half continued where the first left off but the Robins couldn’t add to the score and they were rocked on 61 minutes when Cheadle got back into the game.
A cross from the left found Andy Lindon unmarked at the back post and he hammered the ball past Jay Foulds to halve the deficit.
This gave the home side hope and they enjoyed a ten-minute period of domination and it culminated with Foulds pulling off a ‘Gordon Banks against Pele’ wonder save on 71 minutes.
Ben Brooks got on the end of a cross and headed for the bottom right corner of the goal onlt to see Foulds get down and turn the ball past the post for a corner.
Three minutes later Matthew German hit the side netting from six yards out for Cheadle and this was to prove to be their last real effort.
On 77 minutes Howard broke through for the Robins but saw his shot go inches past the post. However, three minutes later the Robins sealed victory.
Good work on the right by lively substitute Paul Cliff resulted in his cross being met by Ryan Small who gleefully knocked the ball into the back of the net.
The opposition awarded Quirk the Robins’ man-of-the-match accolade, but it was a good team performance with Ben Kay also excelling in the heart of the defence.
Robins’ boss John Neafcy was content, saying: “Apart from a ten-minute spell we bossed the game. Their goal was highly dubious but credit to the lads – and thanks to Jay’s wonder save – we were worthy winners.”
Neafcy’s men have been drawn away at Northern League Bedlington Terriers in the next round.
Meanwhile, North West Counties League First Division leaders AFC Darwen had to come from 2-0 behind to beat brave Ashton Town 3-2 on Saturday.
The gutsy visitors had stormed into a healthy lead thanks to goals from Sam Wilkie and Bradley Smart. However, goals from Ryan Steele  and Anthony Hodges in the 18 minutes snatched victory for the hosts.
Back in the NWCFL Premier Division, Ashton Athletic also lost 3-2, at Squires Gate. On target for the Wigan outfit were James Rushton-Woods and Mark Bailey.