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Kendal Town 2-4 Crook Town
CROOK Town exposed Kendal’s defensive frailties to produce an FA Cup upset and send the Parkside Road club crashing out of the competition at the first hurdle.
The Mintcakes missed a host of opportunities throughout the match, with Warren Byrne pegging the home side back in the first-half after Jordan Connerton’s opener.
The visitors took control after the break with goals from Alex Marshall, Robbie Bird and Richard Hodgson settling matters despite Danny Coid’s late consolation.
With £1925 and a place in the First Qualifying Round up for grabs, Kendal started positively with Danny Mitchley volleying over from the edge of the box in the seventh minute.
Damian Clifton was called into action moments later, clawing away Niall Cowperthwaite’s flicked header towards his own goal after a long throw from Crook winger Craig Hughes.
On 19 minutes, Kendal took the lead through Connerton – his sixth goal in five matches – with the 23-year-old firing home at the second attempt following a goalmouth scramble.
Zach Clark was freed down the left and while his cross evaded everyone, Mitchley returned the ball for Connerton to prod home despite visiting keeper Barry Poskett’s initial save.
The lead lasted only four minutes as Byrne exchanged passes with full-back Elliot Woods before clipping the ball over Clifton from the left edge of the penalty area.
Crook looked dangerous in attack but Kendal were in the ascendancy for the majority of the first-half and missed a gilt-edged opportunity to regain the lead on the half-hour mark.
Martin Grundy’s ball forward was hooked across goal by Coid only for Clark to steal in front of his marker and strike the post from within the six-yard box.
A minute later, Mitchley was denied his fourth goal of the campaign as his near post header from Rob Wilson’s drilled near post corner was tipped over by Poskett.
Ex-Lancaster City forward Connerton has scored in every match so far this season and came close to giving Kendal a half-time lead, with Poskett turning behind his swerving left-footed attempt.
In the opening minute of the second period, Steve Edmondson’s side once again threatened the Crook goal after full-back Marshall upended Connerton.
From the resulting free-kick, Mitchley’s curling effort thumped the top of the crossbar with Woods clearing Connerton’s follow-up header off the line.
After a further Mitchley strike lacked the power to beat Poskett, Crook – crowned Ebac Northern League Division Two champions last season – seized the initiative ten minutes into the second-half.
Marshall’s shot crept over the line despite the efforts of a scrambling Clifton, after the former Garstang keeper had misjudged a high ball into the box and was left stranded.
And shortly after the hour-mark, Crook caught their hosts cold with a route one move which effectively ended the match as a contest.
Wilson’s inswinging free-kick was collected by Poskett, with the Kendal backline failing to deal with his long clearance downfield, allowing Bird to steal in and fire past an onrushing Clifton.
Kendal continued to create chances with Connerton unable to beat Poskett with a low shot before Mitchley crossed for Clark who failed to apply a finishing touch from close range.
On 72 minutes, Crook put the result beyond all doubt as the impressive Byrne found his skipper and strike partner Hodgson who lashed a left-footed shot beyond Clifton.
Byrne and Hodgson have proved prolific this season with ten goals between them and the latter came close again with ten minutes remaining, his curling free-kick drifting narrowly wide.
With six minutes left on the clock, Kendal reduced the arrears through Coid who slotted home Mitchley’s lay-off but by this stage the damage had been done.
Kendal Town: Damian Clifton, Danny McGahon, Jack Smith, Adam Main (Mike Rushton 75), Niall Cowperthwaite (Michael Stringfellow 49), Martin Grundy, Rob Wilson, Danny Coid (c), Danny Mitchley, Jordan Connerton, Zach Clark (Maison McGeechan 68). Subs not used: Ross Lloyd, Sefton Gonzales, Matthew Knipe, Sean Johnson
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