This proved to be the classic game of two halves as slow starting
Boro produced a goal bananza in the second period to send Atherstone crashing out of the
F.A Cup at Manor Park last night.
It could not have been a more different picture in the first 45 minutes with United the
more impressive side, forcing the pace and creating the better of the chances as they
looked to secure a third qualifying round tie at Burton Albion.
Only resolute Boro defending and some weak finishing prevented Ron Bradbury's side from
going into the break ahead, with chances falling to Paul White, Danny Martin, and ex-Boro
man Craig Dean, the latter shooting weakly from a Scott Blair cross on 22 minutes.
Whatever Brendan Phillips said to his Boro players at half-time it certainly did the
trick with Barry Williams' jinking run down the left flank forcing a corner, and the same
player heading home the Prindiville set-piece just five minutes into the second period.
With the deadlock broken, shell-shocked Atherstone were left chasing the game and as
they strove for an equaliser Boro began to find chances easier to come by. With 10 minutes
remaining the home side doubled their lead when Kevin Wilkin capitalised on a Blair slip
to drill a shot past Dale Belford from the edge of the box.
Belford then saved well from both Malcolm Christie and Barry Williams, with the former
also crashing a shot against a post before eventually making his mark on the scoresheet in
injury-time, with a cool lob over the head of the helpless Atherstone keeper completing
Boro's second-half treble and securing a clash with Burton in 11 days time.
R Williams, Everitt, Prindiville, Statham, Crowley, Angus, Wray, Simpson, Wilkin,
Christie, B Williams. SUBS: Muir, Anderson, Healy, Wood.
Belford, Blair, Barratt, Dean (Berks 68mins), Albrighton, Redgate (Olner 67mins), Green,
Hart, (Wright 78mins), Middleton, Martin. SUBS: Higgs, Young.