WOODLEY United’s first-ever FA Cup tie ended in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Hellenic League rivals Tuffley Rovers on Sunday, writes Dave Wright.

But manager Michael Herbert wasn’t too disappointed as there were a number of positives to emerge from their performance in this extra preliminary round tie.

In front of a crowd of just over 100, United conceded two first-half goals with Herbert admitting: “We weren’t really at the races and a few choice words were said at half-time, but we performed much better in the second half.

“I was pleased with how the players reacted and that showed the character we have in the side.

“We piled on the pressure and created a couple of good chances. If we had a bit more quality in the final third, we could have nicked an equaliser.”

But in the end United paid the price for a slow start.

They were put under immediate pressure and it came as no real surprise when Tuffley opened the scoring in the 12th minute with Brett James beating keeper Alex Reed with a shot into the right-hand corner.

The Gloucestershire visitors doubled their advantage on 25 minutes through Ashley Davies from 15 yards, Reed getting a hand to the ball but unable to stop it crossing the line.

Moments later Rovers nearly increased their lead when Jack Overthrow clipped the top of Reed’s crossbar.

At this point, Woodley were struggling, but were nearly presented with a chance to get back into the game when a Tuffley defender failed to cut out a long Josh Drew pass to Charlie Oakley, but the striker couldn’t control the ball and the chance was lost.

Whatever was said in the home dressing room during the interval, certainly had the desired effect.

The second half got underway with a flurry of United corners and, from one, centre-back Michael Porter saw his header deflected away by the head of a defender.

Herbert made a double change on the hour when Nat Robinson and Ashley Ledger made way for Carl Prestidge and Amin Khomsi.

And soon afterwards, Marvin Hinds came on for Joe Barley, with United pushing more men forward and playing with just three at the back.

The change immediately paid dividends as Hinds set up Danny Horscroft, who curled a left-foot shot into the top corner from 25 yards in the 73rd minute.

Showing real urgency, Woodley went looking for an equaliser. Horscroft missed from a free kick before Nicholls sliced wide from distance, while Oakley volleyed over the bar from Drew’s corner.

Tuffley were reduced to 10 men with two minutes remaining when Davies was sent off for a bad tackle on Prestidge.

Herbert commented: “We were disappointed to lose, but then we are not going to win the FA Cup. It was good experience for the players and now we can turn our attentions to the league.”

Woodley, having done well to hold Flackwell Heath to a goalless draw on Tuesday of last week, play their first home Premier Division game this Saturday against Rivermoor Stadium landlords Highmoor Ibis.

“It’s going to be a tough game, but one we are looking forward to,” said Herbert, who watched Highmoor beat Buckingham 3-1 in the FA Cup last Sunday.

The manager added: “We played well against Flackwell and if we had shown a bit more quality with our finishing we could have nicked it.

“I was really pleased with the players as they worked really hard.”