Cowling 1, Rimington 3

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EAST Lancashire League champions Rimington reached the last eight of the West Riding County FA Challenge Cup for the first time in their history after two late goals saw off Cowling on Saturday.

Their reward is a home tie against Yorkshire Premier side Beeston on February 4th.

Playing on a very heavy pitch, into a gale-force wind, Rimington struggled to get out of their own half early on, but gradually they started to come to terms with the conditions and knocked the ball about well in parts.

Dinsdale had two great headed chances to open the scoring, firstly from a great McLean cross which he put just over, and then an O’Neill corner found him unmarked at the back post but he narrowly missed the target.

The visitors caused a lot of problems for the home defence by playing down the wings, with Hutchinson and Heslop getting forward from full back.

O’Neill was a constant threat down the left as he whipped in some tremendous crosses which just eluded the strikers.

McLean just failed to open the scoring with a header, as the ball caught the wind as he made his attempt.

Lloyd was the next culprit as he raced into the box only to slice his left foot effort well wide.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic however, and Kershaw had to clear his lines twice as strikers bore down on passes, and then he was pleased to watch a curling effort just clear the top corner, but by and large the visitors defended well in the first half to keep it at 0-0.

Into the second half and it didn’t take Rimington long to take the lead, Lloyd glancing a header on for the marauding Walsh to race on and calmly beat the keeper.

This opened up the game as the home side tried to press forward, leaving the chance for the visitors to counter, and it was no surprise when Lloyd was upended in the box as he looked to score, and he made no mistake from the spot.

Rimington sat back a little instead of pushing on for more and this allowed Cowling to play in the other half for a spell, creating one or two chances in the process, and eventually they got themselves a lifeline when a midfielder got into the box and shot past Kershaw, his effort bouncing back off the post into the path of a striker, who slotted home with just eight minutes remaining.

Rimington showed their quality now and a great ball into the left channel found O’Neill, who surged into the area before squaring for Sargeson to have the simplest of finishes to make it 3-1.

Terry Braithwaite was thankful that the game went ahead: “It was important to get a game under our belts after a month off and we looked a bit rusty at times, but we are through and it will be interesting to pit our wits against Beeston, that’s for sure.

“The big games will come thick and fast now and historically this is when we start playing our best football so we will see where we are at the end of this month!”

Saturday sees a home league game against Edenfield who held leaders Pendle Forest to a draw last week.