When Michael Brandon glanced a cross from Ryan Jackson into goal in the 88th minute, it was the completion of a remarkable comeback as 1874 trailed 4-1 with 25 minutes to play.
The game started brightly for 1874 as Jackson tested the fullback and seemed to have the beating of him due to his pace and ability to either take him on wide or cut inside.
But the first effort of the game came from former 1874 midfielder, Rick Bailey, who fired a left footed strike that just went wide of the target but this served as a warning of Congleton’s strength going forward.
Conkie was called into his first action of the game, reacting well to get down and save from a Declan Fletcher strike.
1874 looked to get a stranglehold on the game, with Ryan Jackson and Stuart Wellstead threatening on both flanks and it was the former who had 1874’s first effort on goal but his powerful shot clipped the outside of the post.
Soon after, Jackson looked likely to opening the scoring but good defensive work by Kieron Kenny thwarted the opportunity at the expense of a corner from which 1874 did take the lead thanks to a powerful header from Matt Beadle.
After 33 minutes, the scores were level as Bailey lifted the ball over Lomas’ head to find McGowan, who quickly side-stepped right and fired the ball into the top right hand corner.
Just two minutes later and it was 2-1 to the hosts. After Matty Ward lost possession, Fletcher advanced and easily found McGowan who, once again made no mistake by shooting past Conkie.
The second half began with 1874 looking to get back on level terms but in the 52nd minute it was Congleton who scored the fourth goal of the evening and it was a hat-trick for McGowan as once again he found himself in space and cleverly chipped the ball over Conkie and into the net.
It got worse for 1874 on the hour mark after Matthews advanced easily down and squared the ball to substitute Brandon Moores for the easy tap in from 5 yards.
New signing Michael Evans came on for his debut by replacing Ryan Stewart. And it was a pass from Evans in the 66th minute that found Beadle, who lifted a fantastic finish over Farrimond in the Congleton goal to make it 4-2 and give 1874 a glimmer of hope.
The deficit was reduced even further one minute later when Matt Woolley had space to advance forward before unleashing an excellent effort from 25 yards that beat Farrimond
Stuart Wellstead fired a free kick that just went inches wide of goal and then Michael Evans tried a first time volley which also went narrowly wide.
The game was certainly exciting with both sides attacking better than they were defending and it seemed certain that there would be more goals to savour.
It was Congleton, who should perhaps have sealed the points, when Declan Fletcher broke through on goal and his effort clipped the post and went wide when it seemed easier to score
Then, in the 88th minute the sides were level as Michael Brandon was in the right position to meet a cross from Jackson and glance a header into the bottom corner.
This pulsating game had two more big moments – one for each side – in the 91st minute, Matt Beadle turned to find space in the Congleton box, but his left footed effort was well held by Farrimond, whilst at the other end of the field, Congleton had one last chance from a corner, but 1874’s captain Matt Woolley headed the ball away just as Fletcher was waiting to pounce.
This was a great comeback from 1874 and a fantastic advert for North West Counties Football but whilst Ian Street will no doubt be happy with the goals scored he will be no doubt be keen to address the number of goals conceded.
1874: Conkie, Connor, Stadnicki, Lomas, James, Woolley (C), Stewart, Wellstead, Jackson, Beadle, Ward.
SUBS: Evans for Stewart (66) Brandon for Lomas (69)
UNUSED: McNichol, Tulloch, Mason.
|Tue 13 Oct 2015||7:45 pm||NWCFL Premier Division||2015/16|
|Richborough Estates Stadium|
|1 Ivy Gardens, Congleton CW12 4GA, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|#||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|5||Dilan Lomas 12||0||0||0|
|6||Ryan Stewart 16||0||0||0|
|8||Matt Woolley||1 (28')||0||1 (67')|
|9||Matt Beadle||0||0||2 (17', 66')|
|12||Mike Brandon 5||0||0||1 (88')|
|16||Mike Evans 6||0||0||0|