Scotty reaches a century of goals in impressive win
CONGLETON TOWN 0 v 5 1874 NORTHWICH
MACRON HALLMARK SECURITY LEAGUE CHALLENGE CUP SEMI – FINAL – FIRST LEG
Once again there was a large travelling support of 1874 fans who would have been hoping for another good performance against a side that 1874 had already beaten on the two previous meetings this season. To say that the fans returned home happy would be a gross understatement as nobody could have foreseen such an impressive and convincing all round performance.
However, 1874 very nearly went behind when in the 24th minute the impressive centre forward Cope very nearly opened the scoring for the hosts but his shot hit the crossbar and bounced clear. This certainly let 1874 defenders know that they would be “in for a tough game” but as it turned out the defenders certainly won that battle in the end.
1874 took the lead on the half hour mark when an inch perfect free kick from Sam Hare was met by Jack Pritchard and his header rocketed into the net and the celebrations had hardly died down when a second goal arrived and again this was as a result of another great free kick was met by Scot McGowan and his header quickly nestled into the back of the Congleton net.
1874’s midfield were controlling that area and the game looked at this stage as though the hosts very much needed to score the next goal as soon as possible.
But that didn’t happen as 1874 started the second half exactly where they had left off: on the front foot and searching for more goals!
The search was very nearly rewarded when in the 46th minute McGowan latched onto a long ball out of defence but then his effort on goal rolled agonisingly just wide of the post but a minute later and it was 3-0 as Matt Woolley won another tackle in midfield and quickly and his shot was saved but rebounded into the path of McGowan who slotted the ball home.
This goal clearly deflated the hosts and more goals looked a real possibility and a fourth goal arrived in the 58th minute after Pritchard saw his on target header rebound out to the ever alert McGowan who poked the ball home from three yards out.
Whilst this goal completed another hat trick for McGowan it also brought up the 100 goals for him – a marvellous achievement and one so richly deserved by the hard working striker.
Scotty was substituted a minute later and as he left the field he quite rightly received a wonderful reception from 1874’s supporters (and also a good few Congleton supporters who remember him so fondly of his time with them)
Sam Hind was the player to replace McGowan and he too didn’t waste any time in getting into the action as he looked to increase 1874’s advantage in the tie going forward.
A welcomed fifth goal did arrive in the 76th minute courtesy of a fine Taylor Kennerely goal as he beat three tired defenders on the right flank before hitting a low drive from ten yards into the bottom corner of the net.
So with a five goal advantage going into the second leg at home next Saturday 1874 will be confident of reaching the final but of course nothing will be taken for granted as the visitors will be looking to score early and put pressure on 1874.
1874: Aghayere; Connor; Russell; Pritchard; Meadowcroft (sub Irlam); Jones; Koral; Woolley; McGowan (sub Hind); Hare (sub Smith) & Kennerley. Unused subs: Gardner & Waite-Jackson
Congleton: Ellison; Stephens; Peters; McLellan (sub Main); Morris; Speed; Hasler-Cregg; Warburton; Cope; Foster( sub Hunter) & Adegbenro