Mike Brandon heads in Northwich’s first – Photo: Matt Draycott
TWO late goals ensured 1874 Northwich came from a goal behind to secure their first home win of the season against rock bottom Rochdale Town.
Forward Mike Brandon and substitute Steve Crane found the net in the last twenty minutes after Scott Rowbottom had given the Angels the lead.
1874 manager Ian Street opted to stick with the same team that drew 2-2 at Cheadle in midweek but it was the away side that opened the scoring in a laboured start to the match – a goal which was gifted to the visitors.
The build-up to the strike saw a catalogue of errors; attempting to clear Ryan Stewart missed a Carl Fitton long ball inside his own area, prompting goalkeeper Conkie to come out of his nets to try and collect the ball, but this allowed Scott Rowbottom to delightfully chip over the goalkeeper for 1-0 on ten minutes.
The game continued to be poor after the goal with both sides losing possession too easily in the midfield in a scrappy start.
However, the Angels looked the more likely side to take the lead and had two great chances to extend their advantage.
First, the same combination of Rowbottom and Fitton which gave the Angels the lead should have seen the former do better than shoot wide from a cross that had deflected into his path off Adam Foy.
Then a short 1874 corner was given away straight into the path of wide man Jason Hill, in space he ran the length of the pitch before crossing to Jordan James, controlling with his feet, James gave himself the room to hit a shot from just inside the box narrowly over the cross bar in another warning to the home side.
Towards the end of the half 1874 started to get back into the game and should have gone in at the break at least level.
First, top scorer Brandon latched on to a Stewart long ball that beat the Angels defence, but the pass seemed to take the former by surprise and he could only hit a weak shot straight into the grateful hands of keeper Whitehurst.
A moment later, Dean McGregor beat Chris Pearson for pace before cutting inside the box from the right and shooting when the better option was to cross to the awaiting Brandon and Hendley; Whitehurst saved again.
Finally, on the half time whistle an Angel’s mix-up saw goalkeeper Whitehurst miss a seemingly straightforward throw.
The move summed up a first period lacking in quality.
In the second half, 1874 were much improved – something that always looked likely when manager Street had the players on the pitch five minutes early from their half-time break.
The home side’s endeavour would have paid off on 52 minutes if only for the cross bar after Brandon had lofted a crisp 25 yard strike over Whitehurst in meeting Conkie’s goal kick.
Six minutes later, the home side came close to equalising again – this time McGregor threaded a through ball to Wellstead, one-on-one with Whitehurst his low shot was saved.
However, the home side’s dominance and neat passing football was finally rewarded on 70 minutes.
The equaliser came when substitutes Crane’s pass found McGregor in space on the left-hand side, the latter’s cross was met with a powerful Brandon header that struck the cross bar and crept over the line to give 1874 the lead to the relief of the 322 strong crowd.
Relief soon turned to jubilation for 1874 when they went 2-1 in front on 77 minutes.
Provider of the goal Stewart produced a low cross on the edge of the box which was met superbly by Crane, hitting a half-volley low into the bottom corner of the net – a superb strike that clearly meant a lot judging by the resulting celebrations of the team.
An inspired substitution, an inspired comeback, and a much improved second half display saw 1874 hold on and move up to tenth place in the league with nine points.
Next up is an away game at Atherton LR on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
1874 Northwich: Conkie (GK), Mitchell, Stewart, Thomas, Duckworth, Foy (C), Hendley, Jones, Brandon, Wellstead, McGregor
Substitutes: Crane, Marshall, McKay, Bowyer, Leake (GK)
Goals: Brandon (70), Crane (76)
Rochdale Town: Whitehurst (GK), Clegg (C), Fitton, Rowbottom, Pearson, Hodson, Naughton, Burgess, James, Brandao, Hill
Substitutes: McKinley, Dibley, Wood, Davies
Goal: Rowbottom (10)
Referee: Matthew Pope
Assistant Referees: David Lever and Stephen Jones
Man of the Match: Stuart Wellstead
|Sat 24 Aug 2013||3:00 pm||NWCFL 1st Division||2013/14|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|