The highest crowd of the season at Abbey Lane witnessed an end to end game between two sides still harbouring hopes of a possible promotion position come the end of the season.
1874 had to start the game without both the suspended Craig Farnworth and the unavailable Danny Thomas and so Duckwoth played alongside Aston whilst Stewart slotted in at full back. David Short started the game up front with top scorer Brandon.
Hanley started the game well and created two good chances but on neither occasion was Conkie troubled as the shots went high and wide past the posts. Sakeel Abdullah was looking sharp for 1874 and only a couple of fouls stopped him from creating good chances for his team mates.
Then in the 12th minute the first goal of the game arrived when 1874 were awarded a free kick just outside the box and after Short’s fierce free kick had been well saved by the home keeper Cawley, Abdullah was first to react and slotted the rebound home from a narrow angle.
The scorer and Matty Ward then started to cause problems for the home side with their pace and trickery but in all fairness, Hanley started to exert pressure on 1874 and several chances were created but once again Conkie wasn’t called upon to make a save as poor finishing cost Hanley dear.
Whilst there was some strong tackling taking place and neither side giving an inch in their quest to secure a victory to keep them in the game and the promotion race it was somewhat disappointing and a surprise that the referee saw fit to make far too many bookings.
At the start of the second half both sides tried to get forward at very opportunity and Conkie made a good save before 1874 increased their lead. Ryan Mitchell had made a good forward run into the home penalty box and after losing the ball it rebounded back to him and as he tried to control the ball he was clearly fouled and the referee correctly awarded a penalty which was expertly converted by Stuart Wellstead in the 58th minute.
However, 1874 didn’t have much time to enjoy their two-goal cushion because in the 62nd minute the lead was reduced as Theo Stair scored after the visiting defence failed to clear the ball despite two defenders seemingly having ample opportunities to do so.
So once again it was “game on” and certainly none of the strong 285 attendance had any thoughts about leaving early.
Hanley created a couple of chances, one of which brought a fine save from Conkie whilst Ward and Abdullah both had half chances for 1874. Then in the 80th minute 1874’s task appeared to get harder when skipper Lee Jones, received a second yellow and so a red followed and his side had to dig in.
Lunn had already replaced Short but then two more changes quickly followed with Bailey replacing Brandon and Woolley coming on for Abdullah as 1874 dug in to protect their narrow lead. This they did to their credit and in the 94th minute they even had a chance to make it 3-1 but the shot went wide.
So 1874 returned to Cheshire with all three points following their steely all round team performance and now look forward to their long trip to play Holker Old Boys on Saturday
|Tue 25 Mar 2014||7:45 pm||NWCFL 1st Division||2013/14|
|67 Abbey Ln, Stoke-on-Trent ST2, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|