Being the underdogs in this 1st round Cheshire Senior Cup Tie didn’t seem to phase 1874 as they looked comfortable from the first whistle and appeared to be really ready for the task in hand helped no doubt by not being in competitive action since their league win at Widnes in late December.
Manager Street was forced to make quite a few changes to his starting line up as several players were unavailable: skipper Lee Jones, Rick Bailey, Danny Thomas and the cup-tied Daley Woods but the side looked comfortable as they utilised the managers’ game plan brilliantly
In truth,1874 were on the back foot from the start as Lairds took the game to 1874. 1874 defended resolutely with their back four and goal keeper Conkie showing great commitment to the cause whilst the midfield harried relentlessly and Brandon and McGregor worked tirelessly upfront.
Lairds created a few chances in the opening quarter but a compination of wayward shooting and some excellent goalkeeping kept them at bay. After 15 minutes Street had to make a substitution when Tagoe couldn’t continue and was replaced by Paul Bowyer slotting in alongside Farnworth with Duckworth moving back to full back. Then, somewhat against he run of play 1874 took the lead 19th minutes into the game, when McGregor chased a long through ball and anticipated the awkward bounce better than his opponent to win the ball and slot the ball home past the oncoming keeper.
The home side continued to enjoy long periods of possession whilst 1874 showed immense patience and application to their cause and although Lairds did create more chances they also knew that they had to be on their guard as 1874 always threatened with Crane and Woolley probing from midfield
As the interval approached Conkie made two excellent saves to retain his sides’ single goal advantage
During the interval the 1874 Chairman, Paul Stockton,was presented with a plaque from the Cheshire FA as 1874 had been chosen as the side producing the best result in the previous round of the Cheshire Senior Cup and the strong following of 1874 supporters wondered if their side might be in the running for a similar award in this round of the competition if they could hold on to their precious lead
Lairds were sent out early by their manager – no doubt with his words of wisdom ringing out in their ears! However, 1874 were not going to surrender their lead easily and they stuck to the task and their game plan throughout the second half.
Matt Conkie was in fine from and made a good few saves in the second period and he was again helped by his defending colleagues.
Lairds mounted attack after attack whilst 1874 found it difficult to keep possession for long periods in the opposition’s half but with ten minutes of the tie left 1874 made sure of the win when substitute Mike McGinlay finished with aplomb from ten yards out following a totally committed run by Wellstead to create the chance.
With minutes to go it should perhaps have been three, as a defensive clearance fell to the feet of substitute Matty Ward. Three on two from the half way line Ward ran the ball well into the opposition half, crossing as he approached the penalty area. Latching onto the cross was Wellstead, who perhaps should have let the ball run on to the unmarked McGinlay. The cross, too difficult to control, saw his shot pulled wide of the post.
The final whistle was greeted with delight by players and fans together as 1874 Northwich progressed into the second round hoping for a possible tie against a top Cheshire club to look forward to.
Team: Conkie, Mitchell, Farnworth,Duckworth,Tagoe (Bowyer),Woolley,Crane, Wellstead, Stewart (Ward),Brandon and McGregor (McGinlay)
Unused Sub: Murphy
|Tue 14 Jan 2014||7:45 pm||Cheshire Senior Cup||2013/14|
|North West Construction Stadium|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|