A goal on the stroke of half time from top scorer Matt Beadle, was the difference in a fiercely contested game at The Abbey Stadium.
Injuries and work commitments meant that Ian had to switch his team round. Ryan Stewart returned to replace Louis James, who sat the game out with a hamstring injury, Ryan Jackson also missed out still struggling with a knee injury he picked up in early November. Former Captain Neil Chappell was on the bench after returning to the club following a spell away from football.
The game started well for 1874 as Jack Hindle, a recent recruit from Radcliffe Boro and making his debut for the club, produced a fancy first touch to beat the Abbey Hey full back and whip an early cross towards Beadle who’s effort was blocked well for a corner kick.
Mike Brandon, instrumental in his new role behind Matt Beadle, unleashed a powerful drive which crashed against the cross bar and went behind for a goal kick.
The great start continued for 1874 as Mike Brandon once again was at the heart of things, his effort after Jack Hindle’s cut back was cleared off the line.
Just as it looked like Abbey Hey were about to see the half out level after surviving heavy pressure from 1874, the ball broke loose for Matthew Beadle, the 1874 top scorer made no mistake as he smashed the ball with brute power past the impressive McIlwaine.
The second half began and Abbey Hey came out fighting and were the better side early on, with Sam Freakes flashing an effort just wide of Conkie’s left hand post, a warning sign for 1874.
The game now become an end to end battle, with Matt Beadle curling an effort inches wide of the post and at the other end, Ashford Blake had a goal ruled out as he handled the ball on build up.
The game’s most controversial moment came around the 75th minute, Mike Brandon played a ball through to Stuart Wellstead who was in on goal, he rounded the keeper and was fouled by the Abbey Hey stopper. The officials decided that the foul was outside the box and was only worthy of a yellow card. The resulting freekick, taken by Matty Ward, was deflected on to the cross bar and behind for a corner.
Abbey Hey now upped the pressure on the 1874 goal with Hind having an effort blocked by captain Matt Woolley and Blake couldn’t beat Craig Farnworth when he had a chance to get through on goal.
In the dying seconds of the game, 1874 nearly put the game beyond doubt, as Beadle unleashed a half volley from 20 yards which cracked against the cross bar and in to the grateful hands of McIlwaine.
The final whistle went and sparked scenes of joy and relief between the 1874 fans and players as the Greens battled to top the Premier Division table.
1874 Conkie, Mitchell, Farnworth, Woolley (C), Stewart, Kirk, Ward, Hindle, Wellstead, Brandon, Beadle.
SUBS | Connor for Hindle – 60′ Minutes
UNUSED |Tulloch, Cawley, Chappell, McNichol.
Abbey Hey McIlwaine, Jones, Moss, Flanagan (C), Smith, Hickman, Hardy, Freakes, Blake, Hind, Pickering.
ATT | 138
|Tue 1 Dec 2015||7:45 pm||NWCFL Premier Division||2015/16|
|The Abbey Stadium|
|43 Goredale Ave, Manchester M18 7HD|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|#||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|9||Matt Beadle 12||1 (84')||0||1 (45')|
|12||Paul Connor 9||0||0||0|