The 2018/19 Macron Challenge Cup has served up some absolute goal fests every round for 1874. The journey started with a trip to Oldham as the Greens faced First Division North side Chadderton.
Macron Cup First Round-20/10/18: Chadderton vs 1874
The away trip to Chadderton saw a game of 7 goals, 2 penalties and a season ending injury to Joe Woolley. This round of the cup also marked the return of creative midfielder Sam Hare who made an instant impact capping off his second debut with a goal. The game as a whole was a less than inspiring performance as the struggling first division side went toe to toe with the green and blacks however a late penalty from captain Matt Woolley proved to be enough to see the 74 into the second round of the cup with a 4-3 away win.
Macron Cup Second Round-10/11/18: 1874 vs AFC Blackpool
The second round of the cup placed 1874 against AFC Blackpool who lie mid table in the First Division North. After a disappointing performance away to Newcastle Benfield in the FA Vase, 1874 needed a response to get back to winning ways. The game saw GoBo making enforced changes to the back 4 due to the absence of Mark Jones, Paul Connor and Jack Pritchard. The game saw a clinical performance from the 74 with club record goal scorer Scott McGowan bagging a hat-trick. Along with Scott’s goals, Sam Hare and Callam Gardner also scored in a comprehensive 5-0 rout over the side from the league below. Naturally Scott, the stand out performer once again, picked up the man of the match award after leading the line superbly, showing his clinical nature which sets us up with an away tie at fellow league counterparts, Abbey Hey.
Macron Cup Third Round-8/12/18: Abbey Hey vs 1874
After an excellent performance in the league gaining a point away to title challengers City of Liverpool, 1874 were on the road again in the Quarter Finals of the Macron Challenge Cup. The team sprung a few surprises as fairly youthful 74 faced up against the struggling Abbey Hey. Once again, the green and blacks put in another clinical performance in front of goal in a convincing 4-1 victory at Abbey Lane. The game saw the 74-midfield dominating the game, creating chance after chance which was spearheaded by Kazim Waite-Jackson. The young playmaker was instrumental to the final score bagging a brace in the process along with goals from Taylor Kennerley and Jack Pritchard to send us into a quarter final tie vs Barnoldswick Town.
Macron Cup Quarter Final-15/2/19: 1874 vs Barnoldswick Town
After almost two weeks without a game due to postponements, the greens returned to action in a must win quarter final tie against Barnoldswick Town. Once again like every round of the competition, goals were the main focus as 1874 booked their place in the semi-final. 1874 started the quicker of the two sides, making the breakthrough after 12 minutes as a move of real quality from Irlam, McGowan and Koral was finished at the back post by Taylor Kennerley. Shortly after however 1874 were pegged back and Barnoldswick drew level as Croken pounced on loose ball to make the tie one a piece. This was the wakeup call that 74 needed as they made possession count as a deflected free kick fell into the path of Jack Irlam who fired home to regain the lead for 1874. The goals didn’t stop here for 74 as just 5 minutes later Scott McGowan’s effort got through a crowded penalty area to give 74 a 3-1 advantage at the break. After being reduced to 10 men late into the second half, Town dug deep and pulled one back to make it 3-2, but that wasn’t going to be enough in the end as 1874 held their lead putting them into the semi-final.
Macron Cup Semi Final-30/3/19 & 6/4/19: Congleton Town vs 1874
74 travelled to Richborough Estates to take on the Bears who 74 had already beaten on two occasions this season. Once again, the team was cheered on by a large away support as 1874 hoped to return to the home leg with an advantage. The game saw records broken and one of the best performances by 1874 as they dismantled Congleton putting the game out of sight with the home leg still to play. Scott, as he has so many times, found the net once again scoring yet another hat-trick. This took Scott to 100 goals for 74 including 14 against his former club Congleton. Along with goals from Scott, Jack Pritchard also scored against his former club, and Taylor Kennerley scored a brilliant solo goal, beating 3 defenders and finishing into the bottom corner, making it 5-0 to 1874 at full time. This was a performance which shows exactly what the greens can do.
The second leg, one week later, confirmed what was widely expected after the first tie. Shortly after kick off, 1874 had already assembled a 2-0 lead within 10 minutes giving them a 7-0 advantage on aggregate. 1874 opened the scoring with a goal of the season contender from Callam Gardener. A long pinpoint ball from Tony Aghayere, found Taylor Kennerley on the left side who rose well to find Jack Irlam on the overlap and his perfectly timed cross was matched with an even better volley from Callam which nestled into the bottom corner to give 1874 the lead. Gardener was again instrumental 6 minutes later as his shot was spilled by the bears keeper Craig Ellison and Mike Koral was on hand to finish the rebound to double the greens advantage on the day. 1874 remained in control for the rest of the match and managed to see out the game to a 2-0 victory and making it 7-0 on aggregate. This result sent us into the final at Moss Lane, Altrincham, against newly crowned HSL champions, City of Liverpool on the 4th of May.