Steele jubilant after securing FA Cup Preliminary spot in first game as Willand manager


Willand Rovers manager David Steele kicked off his time in charge with an FA Cup victory over Wellington AFC.

Steele was placed in charge of the team following the departure of Russell Jee, who took the team to Round four of the competition eight years ago.

Although repeating that success is unlikely, Steele’s reassembled team made no issue in breaking through to the Preliminary round, set to be held once again at Silver Street in two weeks’ time.

With temperatures high, Wellington would get the match underway, before making their first pounce on Willand three minutes in.

After several missed opportunities, Wellington captain Glen Wright would hold what was arguably the team’s best chance of the first half, narrowly missing a header as the ball flew to the side of the post.

Following a near-miss for Ollie Bray, who shot the ball at Wellington keeper Rob Hall, the first goal of the match would be scored as Lewis Hill fired the ball behind Hall, their first of the season.

This would quickly be succeeded by an own goal for Wellington, with a cross by Bray deflected into the goal by Sam Towler. This unfortunate event for Wellington would soon be followed by the end of the action-packed first half.

The second half would see just one goal, with substitute Lewis Smith taking a last-minute consolation prize for Wellington following a disappointing match, made clearer by the negative emotions displayed by the team following the whistle.

However, despite the loss of a clean sheet, Willand would be jubilant as they kicked off their year with a win, moving on to the Preliminary round of the FA Cup in good momentum.

Steele told Prost he was happy with the match overall, but believes there was more on offer to the Devon-based team.

“It’s a good start, that’s all it is at this point. I think the way we knew Wellington would play, which is a style of football which if we’re honest not many teams attempt to play, would cause us problems in terms of getting the shape right.

“We knew that it would all be in front of us, we knew that they wouldn’t get behind us, we coped with it well but we knew we were in for a tough game and you always want to get off to a good start no matter what season it is, and it always makes a big difference when it’s a big FA Cup game.

“Coming in from a pre-season of rebuilding a squad, I’m delighted with getting through to the next round and the way we’ve applied ourselves.

“We could have got four or five if I’m honest, but that’s great, we created a load of chances against a team that’s difficult to play against.”

The team will now be looking to their game at home once again in two weeks’ time, with their opponent yet to be decided as Sherbourne and Ilfracombe drew 1-1.

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