1874 returned to third place in the League following a workmanlike performance against a rugged and determined Runcorn Town side and with two goals from in-form striker Michael Brandon, including a special last minute goal that will undoubtedly be a strong contender for “1874’s Goal of the Season”.
Matty Ward returned to the side following his suspension, whilst Chris Lunn started his first game since February 24th after having been on the substitutes bench for the last six games.
Matt Beadle missed the game through injury whilst Ryan Mitchell was also a spectator on the evening following an unfortunate accident at work earlier in the day.
The visitors started the game well and initially were helped by a couple of poor clearances by 1874’s defenders, but Conkie was alert as ever and dealt comfortably saving a fierce shot well before reacting quickly to a deflected shot to avert the danger at the expense of a corner.
1874 suffered a blow just past the quarter hour mark when Danny Thomas had to leave the field due to injury and was replaced by Ryan Stewart.
After 23 minutes 1874 created their first real chance of note when good work by Brandon saw him hold the ball up well before setting up young Joe Woolley, but his shot was dragged wide of the target.
The next chance of the game fell to the visitors however some excellent defending by Adam Bayley ensured that the goal scoring opportunity was thwarted. Minutes later and Paul Shanley had an excellent opportunity to open the scoring for Runcorn but his effort was easily saved, as was the next chance for Runcorn on the half hour mark – this time it was excellent anticipation by Conkie who raced out of his area well to avert the danger.
It was the same combination of opponents in action again after 35 minutes as Conkie once again saved well from Shanley at the expense of another corner.
As the game moved on 1874 began to exert some pressure as Ward and Matt Woolley tried to get control of the midfield and in the final minute of the half the first goal of the game arrived. A long searching ball from Matt Woolley failed to directly find a team mate. Instead the pass went to the Runcorn fullback who attempted a cushioned header back to his keeper but unfortunately for him his header was anticipated by Michael Brandon who raced into the area, collected the ball and nonchantly passed the ball into the far corner of the net for an extremely well taken goal.
Five minutes into the second half and the first chance fell to 1874 as Ward found Brandon with a delightful well-weighted pass but on this occasion the striker’s effort was saved by the keeper and Lunn’s follow up effort from 30 yards was well wide of the target.
1874 had started to get a stronger hold on the game but they also knew that their opponents could easily get back into it and a second goal was obviously needed. This goal nearly came from two of 1874’s most unlikely scorers – Bayley and Stewart – but both of their excellent headers were easily cleared.
On the hour mark a good bal from Duckworth found Brandon in the area but the strikers’ lay-off to Joe Woolley was just delayed too long to produce an attempt on goal.
At the other end Paul Connor, who had been working hard up and down the field all game, came to his side’s rescue by blocking well when Runcorn threatened to equalise.
Then as play switched to the other end Joe Woolley fired over from six yards out after good work by Brandon and Stewart and then Stewart himself tried his luck but his excellent shot from 25 yards out was well saved.
Then on 76 minutes the second goal of the game arrived and it was scored by the alert Joe Woolley. Ward and substitute Wellstead combined well on the right flank and Wellstead’s whipped in cross was fumbled by the Runcorn keeper and quick as a flash Woolley reacted to collect the ball, swivel round and fire home form six yards out.
Another fine cross from Stewart very nearly brought another goal for 1874 but Brandon’s header was saved by the keeper at the expense of a corner. 1874 were now well on top and went close to increasing their lead on several occasions with Joe Woolley and Stewart being in the thick of the action.
Then with the clock ticking away and the referee about to blow for full time Michael Brandon produced a real piece of magic. He collected the ball just inside the Runcorn half of the field and moved forward a yard or two looking either side of him to decide how best to link up the play but he then looked forward and saw the Runcorn keeper off his line – probably no more than 3 or 4 yards but nevertheless off his line and then without hesitation he looked down at his trusty left foot and struck a delightful drive from 35 yards plus and everyone watched as it sailed into the top corner giving the keeper no chance.
It was a goal to grace any football match and it will certainly be a strong contender for “Goal of the Season” but for Brandon it was his second of the night, another brace for him and it took his total for the season to nineteen and it sent the supporters home happy – again!
Team: Conkie; Bayley; Ledwards; Thomas; Duckworth; Matt Woolley; Lunn; Ward; Connor; Brandon and Joe Woolley. Substitutes: Stewart replaced Thomas and Wellstead replaced Lunn, Subs not used Pouncey; Abdullah and Tulloch
Goal scorers: Brandon 45 and 90; Joe Woolley 76
Referee: Nicholas Gibbons
|Tue 24 Mar 2015||7:45 pm||NWCFL Premier Division||2014/15|
|St Lukes Barton Stadium|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|