Birtley crashed out of the Durham Challenge Cup after losing a pulsating game on penalties.
The Hoops crashed out of the Durham Challenge Cup with a 4-3 defeat on penalties after the sides had drawn 2-2 in normal time. West started the better of the two sides and should of been ahead through Will Constantin in the 11th minute however he missed the target after good work from Charlie Wood. James Harrison then had an effort on goal from the edge of the area before Birtley started to threaten. A long Glen Hargrave throw-in found it’s way to Alex Francis who fired the ball beyond Nick Liversedge to give Birtley a 16th minute lead.
Birtley had opportunities to double their lead. Callum Smith cut in from the left but his right footed effort went beyond the far post. Glen Hargrave then chased down a long ball and rounded the keeper. Hargrave was left with a tight angle and he drilled the ball across the empty goal but Liam Wotherspoon was just a fraction too late. West had opportunities in the latter stages through Harrison and an excellent intervention from Josh Strassheim prevented a certain equaliser.
HALF TIME | West Auckland 0 – 1 Birtley Town
West Auckland started the second half and piled on the pressure looking for an equaliser. That pressure paid off on 62 minutes when an unmarked Will Constantin headed home from a corner. Auckland thought they were ahead but Alfie Gordon superbly stopped Harrison when he was baring down on goal. West did take the lead on 78 minutes with Constantin getting his second goal from yet another corner.
Birtley made a series of changes to try and claw themselves back into the tie. It was a trio of substitutes who combined for the equaliser. Jack Robson carried the ball forward before finding debutant Ashton Wright. Wright then found the oncoming James Proctor who coolly finished into the bottom corner to take the game to penalties.
FULL TIME | West Auckland 2 – 2 Birtley Town
Scott Heslop stepped up to take first penalty of the shoot-out however his effort was well saved by Liversedge. The scores remained 0-0 after Heggarty dragged his penalty wide for West Auckland. Liam Wotherspoon then sent his penalty over the crossbar. Alfie Gordon had looked to deny Josh Scott but the assistant referee ordered a re-take to which Scott gladly tucked away. Birtley scored their remaining penalties through Callum Turnbull, James Proctor and Alex Francis but West held their nerve to win 4-3 and book their place in the last eight.
PENALTIES | West Auckland 4 – 3 Birtley Town
Attendance – 132
Player of the Match – Josh Strassheim
H2H vs West Auckland Town (all games/competitions)
P7 W1 D1 L5 GF9 GA25
10.01.2006 | West Auckland Town 2-0 Birtley Town – DCC Quarter Final – (N/A)
02.10.2010 | West Auckland Town 6-0 Birtley Town – FA Vase R1 – (N/A)
25.08.2012 | Birtley Town 1-4 West Auckland Town – FA Cup Preliminary – (D. Smart)
30.10.2012 | West Auckland Town (5) 3-3 (4) Birtley Town – DCC R1 – (Dan Smith, S. Telford, M. Hornsby)
08.10.2013 | West Auckland Town 3-1 Birtley Town – League Cup R1 – (D. Reaks)
28.04.2021 | Birtley Town 1-6 West Auckland Town – DCC SF – (J. Barwick)
12.08.2023 | West Auckland 1-3 Birtley Town – League – (O. Lancaster, L. Wotherspoon, B. Pentland)
Birtley travel to Crook Town on Saturday in a 3pm kick-off.