1874 CAUGHT IN WIDNES WEBB
By Garry Clarke
WIDNES 2-2 1874 NORTHWICH HSL PREMIER DIVISION 15TH OCTOBER 2017
In the proverbial “game of two halves” a late equaliser by Widnes substitute Billy Webb meant 1874 Northwich shared the points from a game which for a long time they looked like winning.
With 1874 struggling to adapt to the artificial surface at the Halton Stadium in the early going, Widnes started brightly forcing 1874 goalkeeper Greg Hall into action three times in the opening minutes. He had to palm away a dangerous cross in the 3rd minute, while Brad Smart and Jack Graham both drew good saves with shots from outside the area.
As 1874 started to find their feet, Kazim Waite-Jackson won the ball in mid field, played a pass out wide to Paul Connor who delivered the ball inside to Adam Whitlock who flashed a shot across the face of goal.
1874 opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Wearing the captains arm band for the 100th time, Matt Woolley played a one two off referee Mark Reeves to open up a gap in the Widnes defence into which he slipped the ball. Scott McGowan took Woolley’s pass and shot towards the far post where Sam Hind was on hand to score from close range.
1874 were now dominating the game. Widnes goalkeeper Ritchie Mottram pulled off a good save to deny McGowan and saw a Waite-Jackson shot fly inches wide of his goal.
1874 doubled their advantage in the 25th minute. A well worked corner found its way to Waite-Jackson who slotted the ball home from eight yards.
Widnes were relying on hitting their visitors on the break. Kevin Pollard had a shot deflected over the bar and Andy Gillespie hooked the ball over the bar from a corner, but 1874 looked the likelier to score again with Waite-Jackson again being just inches off target with a long range shot.
On the stroke of half time Whitlock drilled a low angled free kick towards the Widnes goal, Dylan Sweeney managed to clear the ball off the goal line, and from the ensuing corner Taylor Kennerley shot over the bar.
The second half was a mirror image of the first. 1874 started on the attack, with a battling Connor run setting up McGowan whose angled drive hit the far post and bounced out allowing Widnes to clear.
The home side started to work their way into the game and pulled a goal back in the 55th minute. Hall collected the ball as it entered 1874’s area, the referee deemed it to have been a back pass and gave an indirect free kick a couple of yards inside the area. Lee Jackson bravely threw his body in the way of Luke Edwards shot diverting the ball behind for a corner. The resulting set piece saw the ball find Widnes captain Pollard unmarked in the six yard box where he cushioned a volley past the out stretched arm of Hall.
Widnes were now dominating proceedings as 1874 started to drop deeper leaving McGowan isolated up front. 1874’s leading goal scorer had a great chance to put the ball out of the home sides reach in the 75th minute. Running onto a ball played over the top of the Widnes defence, McGowan’s scuffed shot scrapped the outside of the post.
Webb, who had been introduced into the game on the hour mark, announced his arrival by hitting a shot on the turn which Hal did well to save.
In the 70th minute of an open entertaining encounter a ball played into the 1874 area found Webb unmarked, his shot was blocked by an advancing Hall, who also kept out a second effort from Webb as the ball ricocheted around the 1874 area. The ball eventually fell to Edwards whose shot from outside the area deflected off an 1874 defender and forced Hall into making a good save at the foot of the post.
Hall pulled off another good save to deny Tony Donaldson but could not prevent Webb from slamming home the equaliser in the 87th minute as he ran onto a pass played over the top of the 1874 rear guard.
WIDNES – Mottram, Roberts, Sweeney, Sheen, Burke, Pollard, Graham (Davies 79), Edwards (Whyte 77), Gillespie (Webb 60), Donaldson, Smart. Subs not used Mitchell, Fielding.
1874 – Hall, Connor, L Jackson (Houghton 75), Pritchard, Lever, Waite-Jackson, Whitlock, M Woolley, McGowan, Hind, Kennerley (Woods 71). Subs not used Riley, Henry, Spencer.
GOALS – 1874 Hind 12, Waite-Jackson 25 WIDNES Pollard 55, Webb 87
Attendance 155 Referee M Reeves