NWCFL 1ST DIVISION 8TH MARCH 2014
Mike Brandon’s 28th goal of the season proved the decisive moment in this incident packed tussle. Winning 1-0 at Alder Street, 1874 Northwich leapfrogged Atherton Collieries into 3rd place in the NWCFL First Division table.
Playing up the hill, 1874 started the stronger, pushing forward straight from the kick off without creating any real danger. The home side started to find their feet, top scorer Paul Atherton drew a fine save from Matt Conkie, Josh Peet fired a long range shot just wide.
Lee Duckworth went close to scoring in the 26th minute. Stuart Wellstead twisted and turned the Colls full back inside out before whipping in a cross from the right. Only half cleared the ball fell to the full back on the edge of the area, his shot whistled inches over the bar.
Moments later following a foul on Brandon, Matty Ward clashed with Jake Patton in an off the ball incident which resulted in the Colls player collapsing to the ground. Ward was shown the first of nine yellow cards dished out by an inconsistent referee who at times struggled to control a tight, hard fought, physical encounter.
Unperturbed, moments later Ward ghosted past several Colls defenders before forcing their goal keeper to save well. Later in the first half he held off a strong challenge to fire into the side netting.
In between Ward’s two efforts, a long ball had found Atherton unmarked; his shot was well saved by Conkie, who reacted quickly to prevent Patton netting the rebound.
In the closing minutes of the first half 1874 had a strong penalty claim turned down when the referee failed to spot Patton bring down Wellstead as the Northwich man tried to reach a cross in the area. Frustrated at the lack of action by the official Wellstead confronted Patton, after a brief episode of pushing and a pull apart which also involved Colls keeper Phil Priestley, Wellstead was booked.
1874 almost got the second half off to a flying start, twice going close to scoring in the opening five minutes. Rick Bailey got on the end of a free kick floated into Colls area but could only shoot into the side netting, while Brandon dragged a close range shot inches wide following a good run doen the right and cross from Wellstead.
Content to try and hit 1874 on the break, Colls spoiling tactics disrupted the flow of the game, but they were unable to prevent 1874 taking the lead in the 57th minute. Duckworth and Ward combined to set Ryan Stewart away down the left wing, his pin point cross was met by Brandon whose powerful header flew past the helpless Priestley into the net.
The home side started to control the game as they searched for an equaliser, but until the closing minutes did not cause too many alarms for the 1874 rearguard.
Deep into injury time Chris Lawton fired a shot on goal from outside the area following a free kick, the ever reliable Conkie was equal to the task tipping the ball over the bar. From the resultant corner Rob Swanton smacked a shot against the upright. As 1874 cleared the ball the referee brought an end to the proceedings amidst cheers from the massed ranks of the 1874 faithful amongst the 236 strong crowd.
COLLS – Priestley, Cringle, Grimshaw (Leece 65mins), Halliwell, Lawton, D.Patton, Tuffas (Stoker 75mins), Peet (Swanton 55mins), J.Patton, Atherton, Peet. Subs not used- Hatton, Evans.
1874 – Conkie, Mitchell (Woolley 55mins), Duckworth, Farnworth, Aston, Jones, Wellstead (Lunn 68mins), Bailey, Brandon, Ward, Stewart. Subs not used Tagoe, Bowyer.
GOAL Brandon 57mins.
Attendance 236 Referee A.Bell
|Sat 8 Mar 2014
|NWCFL 1st Division