TOM BAILS OUT 74
By Garry Clarke
Two of the oldest sayings in football are “a sign of a good time is to win when not playing well” and “to be successful you have to be able to win ugly”.
As 1874 Northwich manager Ian Street said when leaving the St Luke’s Barton Stadium pitch after witnessing his charges struggle to overcome Ashton Athletic “that was not pretty but its three points.”
1874 goalkeeper Greg Hall cut out a dangerous cross in the opening minutes of an open evenly contested first half between two teams committed to attack, although goal mouth action was at a premium.
Sam Hind ended a good run down the left wing with a cross which was cleared by the Ashton defence. Scott McGowan had a long range shot saved by Ashton keeper Martin Pearson, while Tom Bailey had a shot blocked after debutant Jason Carey had combined with McGowan to set up 1874’s top scorer.
Ashton’s Dan Regan drew two saves from Hall, who also did well to palm a corner away to safety while under pressure.
Reacting quicker than their hosts and passing the ball sharper, the visitors enjoyed a greater share of a scrappy second half but a resilient 1874 dug in and ground out the required result.
The second half started with Hall denying Joel Brownhill from close range and cutting out a dangerous Sam Bailey cross with Ashton attackers waiting to pounce.
Hind drove a low cross into the Ashton area, Aaron Cringle diverted the ball towards his own goal but Pearson reacted quickly to keep the ball out.
Dan Smith opened up the 1874 defence with a cross from the left which found Regan unmarked in the middle of the penalty area, the Ashton man headed over the bar.
McGowan combined with Carey in 1874’s best passing move of the game setting up Paul Connor who crossed to the far post where Hind headed back across goal but wide.
1874 got their reward in the 84th minute when Bailey netted his 23rd goal of the season. Hall launched a free kick from within his own half into the Ashton area, the ball was flicked into the path of Bailey who powered it through the hands of Pearson and into the net.
Ashton, who had not lost away from home since October, went looking for an equaliser in the closing minutes. Matt Farnworth fired in a long range shot which Regan diverted wide, while Regan forced another save from Hall, who also cut out a cross in the last minute as 1874 held on to open 2017 with a win and move up to fourth in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division table leapfrogging Runcorn Linnets.
1874; Hall, Connor, Russell, Mitchell, Thomas, Hare, Carey, Waldron (Matt Woolley 64), Bailey, McGowan, Hind. Subs not used Joe Woolley, Jack Woolley, Lee Jones, Adam Whitlock.
ASHTON; Pearson, Jones, Howard, Cringle, Kay, Webster, Smith (Cusani 75), Watson (Farnworth 46), Brownhill, Regan, Bailey. Subs not used Hatton, Aspinall, Wilson.
GOAL 1874 Bailey 84
ATTENDANCE 218 REFEREE D.Bruce
Man of the match selected by match sponsors THE BEER FESTIVAL COMMITTEE = Sam Hind
|Sat 7 Jan 2017||3:00 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|
|8||Dahrius Waldron 14||0||0||0|
|9||Tom Bailey||0||0||1 (84')|
|10||Scott McGowan||1 (88')||0||0|
|14||Matt Woolley 8||0||0||0|