WITTON ALBION 3-2 1874 NORTHWICH MCDSCSF 10TH FEBRUARY 2015
A 92nd minute goal settled the first ever 1874 Northwich – Witton Albion game in favour of the home side at Wincham Park.
1874 lost nothing in comparison with their opponents, who operate two leagues higher, in a typical no quarter given no quarter asked cup tie between two committed teams.
Straight from the first whistle both teams put the emphasis on attack in an open entertaining encounter which provided the crowd of 472 (Witton’s biggest of the season) with plenty of action. After a frantic opening which saw play switching from end to end the home side opened the scoring in the 14th minute. A corner from the right found Sam Barnes unmarked in the middle of the 1874 area allowing him to head home unchallenged.
Witton started to dominate proceedings doubling their advantage five minutes later. Jamie Rainford fired in a shot which new goalkeeper Neil McDermott (signed from Eagle Sports) did well to save. Having scrambled the ball behind for a corner, 1874 failed to clear from the corner allowing Liam Goulding from the edge of the area to drill the ball through a packed penalty box for their second goal. Shortly afterwards, McDermott came to 1874’s rescue tipping an Alex Titchinor shot over the bar.
As the half hour mark approached 1874 started to fight their way back into the game. A long range Matty Ward shot deflected off a defender into the path of Mike Brandon whose effort looped over Witton keeper Andy Robertson hitting the bar and bouncing to safety. Matt Woolley’s long range shot was well held by Robertson and Neil Chappell shot wide as 1874 ended the first half on top.
Witton began the second half with all guns blazing with Rainford and Joe Shaw firing shots just wide of the target and Titchinor drawing a fine save from McDermott in the opening five minutes. Having weathered the storm, 1874 hit back in the 52nd minute cutting Witton’s advantage in half with a well taken goal. A cross field ball found Ryan Stewart, who cushioned a header into the path of Ward whose angled shot across Robertson into the far corner of the net.
A minute later Witton were reduced to ten men. A feisty encounter which several time to boil over did so briefly when players from both sides came together in a melee, which resulted in Witton’s Zac Corbett being dismissed.
The resultant free kick was floated into the Witton area with Danny Thomas heading inches wide. Ten minutes later another free kick into Witton’s area saw Ryan Mitchell leap highest to catch Robertson stranded in no man’s land to head home the equalising goal.
Both teams strove to find the winning goal. On the hour mark Danny Andrews fired a long range shot wide of 1874’s goal while McDermott pulled off several fine saves in the closing minutes of his debut. Ward fired in a shot from 30 yards which almost caught Robertson napping but he managed to push the ball round the post for a corner. Witton only partially cleared the corner kick; Stuart Wellstead returned the ball into the danger area, where Steve Foster’s header landed in the side netting.
As the 90 minutes were up the referee evened up the numbers by showing Brandon his second yellow card of the game.
Two minutes into stoppage time with extra time looming (and possibly a dreaded penalty shoot out) 1874 failed to clear the ball from their area, allowing Goulding to stab home the dramatic winner to send Witton through to the Mid-Cheshire District Senior Cup Final.
1874 left the pitch with their heads held high and the cheers of their fame ringing in their ears to the applause of the Witton Albion manager.
WITTON – Robertson, Gardner, Barnes, Goulding, Dawson, Clark, Corbett, Shaw, Titchiner, Rainford, Andrews Subs not used Swift (GK), Weeder, Fofana, King, Morgan
1874 – McDermott, Mitchell, Bayley (Duckworth 86), Thomas, Connor (Foster 78), Chappell, Woolley, Stewart, Wellstead, Brandon, Ward Subs not used Woods, Lunn, Short
GOALS Witton – Barnes 14, Goulding 19, 92 1874 Ward 52, Mitchell 62
REFEREE Jon Paul Kenny ATTENDANCE 472