1874 beat Albion on penalties after second half comeback
Witton 2-2 1874 (3-4 pens):
CHESHIRE SENIOR CUP 1ST ROUND
1874 Northwich beat Witton Albion on penalties in the Cheshire Senior Cup first round, after clawing back a two goal deficit at Wincham Park on Tuesday night.
Goalkeeper Tony Aghayere proved to be the hero, as his third save of the penalty shootout cemented 1874’s passage into the competition’s next stage.
It was the home side who started the better of the two and with just under ten minutes played, they opened the scoring through MJ Monaghan’s strike from outside the box, sending the ball past Aghayere who was left rooted.
1874 soon started to get into the match after going behind and in the 25th minute it looked as though they were going to be given a penalty after Mike Koral appeared to have been tripped in the Witton box, but the referee waved it away and booked Koral for diving.
After not getting this decision, things got worse for 1874 as Witton put together an attack on the right and Billy Smart ran into the box, playing the ball across for an untracked Isaac Baldwin to sweep into the net.
Half time came and 1874 almost certainly needed the break to re-group and go again in the second half.
And this they did as they came out on the front foot in the opening five minutes of the half, as Harry Cain was able to test Witton keeper Ryan Nield early on at his near post.
Scott McGowan saw his effort from inside the box blocked well near the goal line by the home defence, who were under a lot more pressure than in the previous 45 minutes.
1874 looked a completely different side following the break, as numerous shots rained down on the Witton goal, but the hosts back line stood firm.
The much needed goal finally came for 1874, after defender Baldwin headed Lee Knight’s cross into his own net to give the visitors a lifeline with just over ten minutes remaining.
1874 pushed on to get what would be a deserved equaliser in the final minutes, and their efforts were rewarded when, following a corner as the game entered injury time, McGowan collected the ball from Ryan Mitchell’s header back across goal, before he finished from inside the six yard box to level matters.
With seconds to go on the clock, 1874 almost claimed victory in normal time, as Knight’s long range effort forced Nield to push the ball away to keep his side in the tie, sending the game to penalties.
After six penalties each, the sides were level at 3-3 heading into sudden death. 1874 left-back Matthew Russell stepped up and brilliantly dispatched his spot-kick into the net.
That left it for Aghayere to become the man to send 1874 through and he didn’t disappoint, saving Smart’s effort superbly down low to his left.
This then signaled another increase in the noise level as the 1874 players celebrated a fantastic comeback with their obviously delighted supporters.
Report by Joe Dutton