1874 NORTHWICH 2 -1 ABBEY HEY NWCFL CHALLENGE CUP QUARTER FINAL 15/3/2014
Despite playing over 20 minutes with ten men, 1874 Northwich, for the second time, knocked premier Division opposition out of the NWCFL Challenge Cup. Having defeated Squires Gate in the second round, 1874 claimed the scalp of Abbey Hey to book their place in the semi-finals, winning 2-1 at the Barton Stadium.
With a strong gusting wind blowing down the pitch 1874 dominated the first half. After Stuart Wellstead had gone close with two headers in the opening ten minutes, recent signing David Short went close to opening his 1874 account. Receiving the ball just outside the Abbey area with his back to the goal, he turned his marker and fired a shot inches over the bar. In the minutes that followed Short had a further two shots which narrowly missed the target.
In the 39th minute against the run of play, Abbey Hey caused panic in the 1874 ranks as Tom Murray was given time and space to line up a shot from twenty yards. Striking the woodwork the ball rebounded into the path of the unmarked Wes Hanley who was allowed to shoot from around the penalty spot, but he was unable to beat Matt Conkie, who pulled off a fine save to deny Abbey an undeserved lead.
The deadlock was broken on the stroke of half time. Full back Lee Duckworth ended a marauding run down the left wing by swinging a cross into the penalty area where it was met by Short. Controlling the ball as he turned to face the goal, the ex Leek Town man unleashed an unstoppable volley into the Abbey net to score his first goal in a green shirt.
Fourteen minutes into the second half 1874 doubled their advantage when Rick Bailey converted from close range following a run through the Abbey defence and pull back by Matty Ward.
The visitors clawed their way back into the tie in the 65th minute with a well taken goal. A cross from the left was only partly cleared and falling to George Riley a couple of yards outside the area was drilled home to halve 1874’s advantage. Twelve minutes later 1874 were reduced to ten men when Daley Woods was dismissed when he clashed with John Hardy. After a bout of pushing and shoving, the Abbey man was shown a yellow card, while Woods received a red one for slapping his opponent in the face.
Abbey Hey strove for an equaliser to take the tie into extra time, but for all their effort posed little threat to the 1874 goal. Good build up play was constantly thwarted by a resolute 1874 rearguard expertly marshalled by man of the match Danny Thomas and Craig Farnworth, who was equally impressive.
Introduced into the action as a second half substitute, leading scorer Mike Brandon had the opportunity to calm the nerves and put the game to bed in the 85th minute. Meeting a Wellstead cross with the goal at his mercy, maybe put off by a sudden gust of wind slightly changing the balls path, he headed wide.
1874 – Conkie, Aston, Duckworth, Farnworth, Thomas, Jones, Woods, Bailey, Short (Brandon 69mins), Ward (Stewart 76mins), Wellstead. Subs not used Abdullah, Tagoe, Brookes.
GOALS – Short 45mins, Bailey 59mins.
ABBEY HEY – McIlwaine, L.Murray (Travaglini 70mins), Morrall, Lawrence, Harrop, S.Hardy, T.Murray, Riley, Jones, Harney, J.Hardy. Subs not used Gibson, Borrell.
GOAL – Riley 65mins.
Attendance 230 Referee John Dowd Man of the Match Danny Thomas
|Sat 15 Mar 2014
|NWCFL League Cup