ONE STEP CLOSER
BY GARRY CLARKE
LEIGHTON TOWN 0-1 1874 NORTHWICH FA VASE 6TH ROUND
24TH FEBRUARY 2018
It was not pretty, but 1874 Northwich are in the hat for Monday’s Buildbase FA vase semi-final draw, and that is all that matters in cup football.
The massed ranks of 1874 supporters in the 800 strong crowd at Bell Close were subjected to a nerve wracking second 45 minutes. Referee Simon Barrow’s full time whistle was greeted with a mixture of cheers and sighs of relief as 1874 held on for a 1-0 win over Leighton Town in an absorbing cup tie.
1874’s Spartan South Midlands League hosts started strongly having two goal scoring opportunities in the opening five minutes, Lea Coulter shot across the face of goal and Dom Marsala screwed a shot wide of the target.
1874’s first attack saw Matt Russell swing a cross from the left into Leighton’s penalty area which found Scott McGowan, his shot on the turn was blocked by a defender, the rebound fell to Sam Hind who hooked the ball over the bar.
Leighton’s Alex O’Brien unleashed a 30 yard drive in the 20th minute which Greg Hall did well to tip over the bar, while 3 minutes later his opposite number Tom Wyant saved bravely at the feet of Jake Parker.
The game’s decisive moment arrived in the 25th minute. Parker was quickest to a loose ball in the Leighton area, going away from goal he was brought down by a rash Marsala challenge. McGowan drilled the spot kick low into the corner of the net for his 25th goal of the season and 7th from the penalty spot.
In the closing minutes of an evenly contested first half Taylor Kennerley shot across the face of Leighton’s goal and James Hatch drew a fine save from Hall with a low shot from distance.
The home side dominated possession in the second half pushing 1874 deeper and deeper as they subjected their visitors to wave after wave of attacks which were repelled by green shirted defenders desperately throwing their bodies in the way of shots and scrambling the ball clear.
Goalkeeper Hall pulled off several fine saves in the second half and safely handled any high balls played into the 1874 area which were not dispatched by the towering presence of second half substitute Danny Meadowcroft or his defensive colleagues.
Goal scoring opportunities were limited for 1874 in the second half. Hind latched onto a long clearance from Hall but could not guide the ball past Wyant, who later kept out an Adam Whitlock shot.
As the game entered stoppage time the referee turned down a desperate Leighton penalty appeal for handball moments before bringing proceedings to an end sparking wild scenes of celebration both on the pitch and terraces.
LEIGHTON Wyant, Towell (Fryer 89), Murphy, Guiney, Hall, Marsala (Boland 70), Tappin, O’Brien, McBride, Coulter (Smith 64), Hatch Subs not used Kirkwood, Bryant
1874 Hall, Connor (Meadowcroft 49), Mitchell, Pritchard, Russell, Parker (Fallon 83), M Woolley, M Jones, Hind, McGowan, Kennerley (Whitlock 70) Subs not used Riley, Woods
GOAL 1874 McGowan 25p
REFEREE Simon Borrow ATTENDANCE 1109
|Sat 24 Feb 2018||3:00 pm||F.A. Vase||2017/18||1109|
|Bell Close Lake Street Leighton Buzzard Bedfordshire LU7 1RX|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
|#||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|2||Paul Connor 14||0||0||0|
|9||Scott McGowan||0||0||1 (25')|
|10||Jake Parker 16||0||0||0|
|11||Taylor Kennerley 13||0||0||0|
|13||Adam Whitlock 11||0||0||0|
|14||Dan Meadowcroft 2||0||0||0|
|16||Rory Fallon 10||0||0||0|
|Referee||Assistant Referee 1||Assistant Referee 2|
|Simon Barrow||Hallam Cutmore||Andrew Humphries|