1874 NORTHWICH 2-1 ECCLESHALL NWCFL FIRST DIVISION 2ND APRIL 2014
Deep into stoppage time at the end of an entertaining game, which kept the 215 strong crowd enthralled, Mike Brandon swooped to keep 1874 Northwich’s promotion chase on track. With the score locked at 1-1 and the seconds until the final whistle ticking down, Matty Ward swung in a corner from the right, flicked on at the near post, the ball was approaching the far post when it was met by Brandon who from close headed home his 31st goal of the season sparking wild celebrations on the pitch and the terraces.
It was a cruel end to the game for Eccleshall who, unbeaten in their previous four games, did not deserve to leave the Barton Stadium empty handed.
1874 started the game in dominant fashion firing several shots on the visitor’s goal and had the ball in the visitor’s net twice in the opening twenty minutes, but both efforts, one by Brandon and one by David Short, were ruled out for offside.
Third time lucky, 1874 opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. Brandon played Ryan Mitchell in behind the Eccleshall full back, Mitchell’s cross found Sakeel Abdullah whose shot was saved by Eccleshall keeper Chris Middleton-Hill. Unable to hold onto the ball, it rebounded off keeper into the path of Short who hammered the ball home.
The lead was short lived as Eccleshall were level three minutes later. A long diagonal ball delivered from the right found Angelo Errico unmarked, cutting back inside Mitchell he drilled the ball into 1874’s net.
In the closing minutes of the first half on two occasions 1874 went close to restoring their lead. Brandon laid the ball off to Ryan Stewart who flashed a shot just over the bar. Moments later Stewart’s cross field ball found Abdullah, who skipped past the Eccleshall defence, firing a shot across goal and inches wide of the far post.
Four minutes into the second half Abdullah chased a ball down the right wing, pulled it back inside to Short who slipped it into the path of Brandon. With the goal at his mercy he steadied himself, took aim and fired, but Middleton-Hill got in the way saving a certain goal. 1874 enjoyed the greater share of possession in an open encounter creating numerous chances, Brandon seeing a goal bound shot blocked by desperate defending and a header well saved, as well as numerous shots by team mates flying wide of the target.
The hard working visitors kept plugging away constantly posing a threat on the break. Just after the hour mark they picked up a loose ball on the half way line, quickly broke to set up Errico whose shot from the edge of the area was well saved by Matt Conkie. Five minutes from time Tom Wakefield was eight yards from goal and as he was picking his spot for fire past Conkie was tackled as he was drawing his foot back to shoot.
With just a minute of normal time remaining, a long ball found former 1874 player James Morrow in space inside the 1874 area, but with only Conkie to beat shot tamely straight at the Northwich custodian.
The action switched to the opposite end of the pitch where 1874 forced the corner from which Brandon struck three minutes into stoppage time.
1874 – Conkie, Mitchell, Duckworth, Farnworth, Aston, Woolley, Abdullah, Ward, Brandon, Short, Stewart (Wellstead 63mins). Subs not used Bailey, Latham, Tagoe, Bowyer.
ECCLESHALL – Middleton-Hill, Cooper, Hadzik, Banawich (Barrass 75mins), Warren, Counter, Hulme (Marrow 85mins) , Marshall, Wolliscroft, Wakefield, Errico. Sub not used Flattley.
GOALS 1874 Short 23, Brandon 90+3
Eccleshall Errico 25
Attendance 215 Referee Peter Simm 1874 Man of the match David Short
|Wed 2 Apr 2014
|NWCFL 1st Division