(Match report courtesy of Andrew Simpson -Senior Sports Writer Northwich Guardian)
THEIR colours may have been different, but 1874 Northwich’s conquerors on Tuesday were familiar faces.
In the club’s inaugural season they failed to beat – or even score against – a Formby side co-managed by Kevin Dally that finished ahead of them.
Seven names on the team-sheet for a decisive meeting between those rivals little more than two years ago started the latest one.
And, as then, they ended it with bragging rights.
Like all good things, unbeaten runs have to end sometime.
A streak for Ian Street’s men, which had taken them four points clear at the North West Counties League summit, stops at 10 matches.
The manner of their defeat worried 1874’s manager most afterwards.
The hosts weren’t outplayed, but they were shut out by Liverpool’s organised defence too easily.
At the other end, a back four shorn of regular starters Paul Connor and Ryan Mitchell was exposed as frail.
Indeed, so harrowing was Callum Jones’ experience against Jason Carey that Street was forced to substitute him after an hour.
Despite all that, Northwich could have pinched a point.
Scott McGowan swept a perfectly-placed finish past goalkeeper Charlie Saunders after 70 minutes to make it 2-1, re-opening a contest that had appeared to be over.
Stuart Wellstead then headed high when left unmarked from Corey Mason’s free kick.
Street had five strikers on the field when Mike Brandon replaced Rick Bailey with time running out and it was the most in-form of those, Tom Bailey, to whom their best chance fell.
However he blazed wildly over the bar after Sam Hind prodded the ball his way inside the penalty area, a moment that symbolised perfectly the disheveled nature of 1874’s night. Substitute Freddie Potter then looped an outrageous third goal for Liverpool in stoppage time to make safe maximum points.
It was in-keeping with the theme of déjà vu, because the visitors’ opener shortly before the break was identical.
1874 custodian Greg Hall left his line to meet a pass intended for Carey, succeeding only to head it directly to John Dillon.
The midfielder, spotting an opportunity, lifted a first-time shot from distance into an unguarded goal.
There had been little to choose between the teams otherwise.
Danny Thomas headed off-target after rising to meet Rick Bailey’s corner, while Emeni Adigbenro fluffed the visitors’ clearest opening when he skewed wide after sprinting away from Mason.
Liverpool doubled their lead early in the second period following a counter attack that ended with Paul Speed driving low towards goal. Hall could not hold onto the ball, and Carey nudged it back past him.
1874 toiled to open a defence that sat deep, and McGowan’s goal was a moment of individual inspiration rather than the result of sustained pressure.
Given a glimpse of goal 20 yards out, he did not hesitate to bend a smart finish out of Saunders’ reach.It was a spark and Northwich, if only briefly, flickered.
But Dally’s men, as they have done in the past, extinguished their hopes.
1874 | 4-4-2 | Hall (GK), Mason, Thomas, Callum Jones (Carroll 58), Russell, Hind, Rick Bailey (Brandon 82), Mark Jones, Wellstead (Jack Woolley 77), Tom Bailey, McGowan Subs not used Matthew Woolley Goal McGowan 69 Booked Callum Jones, Carroll (both fouls)
Liverpool | 4-1-4-1 | Saunders (GK), Brislen, White, Swatton, Essery, Molyneux, Dillon (Wright 73), Speed, Smith, Adegbenro, Carey (Potter 75) Subs not used Donnelly, Toohey Goals Dillon 41, Carey 54, Potter 90 (+4)
Referee: Michael Crusham – Attendance 234
|Tue 27 Sep 2016||7:45 pm||Hallmark Security League Premier||2016/17|
|St Lukes Barton Stadium|
|The Barton Stadium, Wharton Rd, Winsford CW7 3AE, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|#||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|4||Callum Jones 12||1||0||0|
|6||Rick Bailey 14||0||0||0|
|10||Scott McGowan||0||0||1 (69')|
|11||Stuart Wellstead 16||0||0||0|
|12||Dougie Carroll 4||1 (63')||0||0|
|14||Mike Brandon 6||0||0||0|
|16||Jack Woolley 11||0||0||0|