MAINE ROAD 3-1 1874 NORTHWICH NWCFL CHALLENGE CUP SEMI FINAL FIRST LEG
1874 Northwich will have to overturn a two goal deficit in the second leg if they are to reach the NWCFL Challenge Cup Final, having lost 3-1 at Brantingham Road. Although second best for large periods of the game, 1874 caused their Premier Division opponents enough problems to ensure they enter the second leg at the Barton Stadium on Saturday 12th April confident of being able to cause an upset.
Standing third in the top flight, Maine Road dominated the opening exchanges forcing Matt Conkie into several fine saves, with Rick Williams especially lively. Surviving the initial onslaught, 1874 slowly start to establish a foothold in the game and, somewhat against the run of play, tok the lead in the 28th minute. Ryan Stewart, who a few minutes earlier had sent a long range shot just wide of the target, floated a free kick into the Maine Road penalty area, as the home side struggled to clear the ball amidst a goalmouth scramble their goalkeeper Ryan Livesey shoulder charges Sakeel Abdullah to the ground. Stuart Wellstead stepped forward to send Livesey the wrong way from the penalty spot.
1874 were enjoying their best spell of the half, with Livesey saving well to deny David Short from adding a second before Maine Road equalised in the 41st minute, 1874 failing to clear their lines, the ball fell to James Rothel who fired home from eight yards.
1874 went close to regaining the lead in the first minute of the second half. Short setting up Stewart whose drive from 25 yards was tipped over the bar by Livesey.
Watched by the highest crowd of the season at Brantingham Road, Maine Road hit the front in the 58th minute. 1874’s rearguard momentarily switched off while appealing for hand ball allowing a cross from the left to find an unmarked Jack Langford who drilled the ball home.
Employing a direct style of play, a hard working Maine Road team dominated the second half, reacting quicker than their visitors they were able to cut out many 1874 attacks before they had chance to develop. The home side extended their advantage in the 70th minute when Neil Chappell rose highest meeting a corner from the left, flicking the ball across the goal and into the far side of the net.
Limited to sporadic attempts on goal, mainly shooting from distance, 1874 went close to halving the deficit carried forward into the second leg. Mike Brandon slipped a pass into the path of Matty Ward whose cross flashed across the goal mouth agonisingly just out of reach of any team mates.
MAINE ROAD – Livesey, Hill, Rothel, Shenton, Mason, Chappel, Williams (Henderson 67mins), Langford, Bentham (Beadle 76mins), Connors, Moran. Subs not used Doherty, Broady, Coughlan.
1874 – Conkie, Mitchell, Duckworth, Farnworth, Thomas, Stewart (Bailey 83mins), Abdullah, Woolley, Short (Brandon 74mins), Ward, Wellstead. Sub not used Bowyer.
GOALS Maine Road Rothel 41, Langford 58, Chappell 70 1874 Wellstead 28
Attendance 206 Referee N.Barnard
|Mon 31 Mar 2014
|NWCFL League Cup