A LAST gasp equaliser from Liam Pennington denied 1874 Northwich a first ever competitive win in this midweek encounter.
The central midfielder’s goal came with one minute of normal time to spare and cancelled out Dean McGregor’s penalty that had given 1874 the lead.
Manager Ian Street made one change from the team that drew at home to Oldham Boro with Phil Coffin coming in for the injured Lee Hendley.
The game started with 1874 controlling possession and playing with a high intensity.
Four minutes had gone and 1874 could have taken the lead when a long ball from Dean McGregor found Adam Foy in space on the right-hand-side.
Foy charged towards goal and rounded the keeper before producing a low cross which was met and struck towards goal by Anthony Marshall, only for full back Connor Braithwaite to get back and bundle the ball off the line.
On 20 minutes, another chance was presented to 1874 when an unmarked Danny Thomas should have done better than shoot narrowly wide after being picked out at the back post from Foy’s corner.
After early pressure from 1874, the game became scrappy in the midfield with Irlam settling into the match a little with a number of corners comfortably dealt with by the 1874 defence.
However, 1874 were presented with two golden opportunities as the half-time whistle approached.
First, Lee Duckworth’s long ball caught the Irlam defence out and picked out Phil Coffin.
One-on-one with the goalkeeper, Coffin attempted to round the keeper, only to be taken out by Brewer on his path to goal.
A yellow card was presented to the goalkeeper and a free kick awarded to 1874, the source of another chance.
The resulting free kick from Anthony Marshall swung in from the left-wing evaded everyone but Brandon whose flick-on towards the goal rebounded back off the post.
The last action of a half 1874 will feel they should have led.
The second half started in the same fashion with 1874 on top and five minutes in Brandon was presented with a glorious chance to give the away side the lead.
The move came when Irlam were again caught out by a through pass from Marshall, and Brandon with only the keeper to beat could only shoot into the side netting.
At the other end, Irlam came close to taking the lead on 53 minutes when wideman Gary Prescott beat Duckworth for pace and produced a dangerous cross which had to be diverted away by Stewart just as Jordan Icely was about to get a header in towards the goal.
Irlam began to control the game and 1874 nearly went behind on 56 minutes when long-throw expert Braithwaite’s throw into the box was flicked on towards the goal, leaving Marshall to clear the ball off the line.
With an hour gone, Irlam continued to look the more likely team to break the deficit, and a fine 25 yard effort from Icely curled narrowly over the bar in another move for the home side.
However, despite Irlam seemingly having a foothold in the game, it was 1874 who took the lead on 70 minutes when a penalty was awarded.
The spot-kick was given after Pennington handballed from Stewart’s free kick.
McGregor stepped up and fired a classy penalty kick into the top left hand corner for 1-0 to the delight of the 150 strong 1874 faithful.
With the lead in the bag, 1874 began to play with more comfort and could have added to their lead when Brandon powered through on goal, only to strike over the cross bar.
But there was to be a twist, a cruel twist from an 1874 perspective when Irlam equalised with a minute to spare.
The equaliser came when a free kick swung in from the right-hand-side was met by Pennington, who was given the space to control the ball and hit a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box past the despairing dive of Conkie.
The midfielder’s celebration was ecstatic whilst 1874 fans were left feeling dejected.
The result means 1874 have drawn their first two games ahead of their away match against Daisy Hill on Saturday.
Irlam: Brewer (GK), Braithwaite, Barlow, Haggis, Mills, Pennington (C), Mooney, Burgess, Prescott, Icely, McGreevy
Substitutes: Lynch, Smith, Main
1874 Northwich: Conkie (GK), Mitchell, Stewart, Thomas, Duckworth, Foy, McGregor, Crane, Brandon, Marshall (Wilding 70), Coffin (McKay 81)
Substitutes: McKay, Leake, Wilding
Goal: McGregor (70)
|Tue 6 Aug 2013||7:45 pm||NWCFL 1st Division||2013/14|
|The Ambitek Stadium|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
KO 70 70 81 FT