REPORT: Northwich Victoria 2-2 Widnes FC
REPORT: Northwich Victoria 2-2 Widnes FC
REPORT: Northwich Victoria 2-2 Widnes FC.
DATE - Saturday 7th October 2017. COMPETITION - NWCFL Premier Division. VENUE - Townfield Stadium, Barnton, Northwich.
Vics' - Donlon, Grant (D), Weston (D), Lawton, McDonnell (Willis 82' (caution), Bennett (C), Fitton, Gorman (D), Marshall (Pollard 75'), Matthews, Gyimah.
Un-used subs' - Lawrence, Pino, Dale.
*D* - Denotes debut.
Unavailable for Vics' - Reece Lyndon (thigh) , Anthony Shinks (knee).
GOALS - Vics' - Matthews 76', Pollard 86'.
Widnes - Billy Webb 70', Andy Gillespie 90+ 4'.
Vics' MOM - Jordan Grant. An assured debut by the young right-back. Comfortable defending and in attack; not afraid to get up and down the line to support fellow impressive debutant Johnny Gorman.
Widnes started the brighter and were inches away from taking an early lead. Sean Myler combined with Jack Graham who released Gillespie but the former St Helens Town hit-man could only shoot wide of the post on 7'.
Vics’ first chance came via a long-range Brian Matthews screamer, which bounced up against keeper' Mottram who managed to react quickly to smother the shot on 15'.
Graham then went close for the visitors on 23' latching on to a Chad Whyte flick-on before bursting into the area. He went past Daniel McDonnell with little fuss, but could only flash his strike across the face of goal.
Graham and Roberts combined midway on 28' - exchanging passes that released the latter, his cross was dangerous and intended for Alex Davies; but the pass evaded everyone.
Northwich then kicked on, with new signing Johnny Gorman at the heart of Vics’ attack. Gorman, who has nine senior caps for Northern Ireland - floated a dangerous free-kick into the area, met by Matthews; who headed over from 8 yards on 37'.
Sam Marshall won possession back for Vics on 43' and powered forward, he created space for a powerful low shot from 18 yards but Mottram was alert to make a good save.
Widnes’ best chance of the half came inside first half stoppage time. Graham was again the focal point, making a typical long-busting run forward into space. The move eventually broke down, but Graham kept things alive by working the ball to Myler in space, but Vics' keeper' Michael Donlon got down to push Sean Myler’s low shot away.
Half-time - Northwich Victoria 0-0 Widnes FC.
On 47' Vics' defender Christopher Lawton slipped in an attempt to intercept Andy Gillespie’s cross, presenting Chad Whyte with a great chance to open the scoring but the ball skipped away on the greasy surface; saving Lawton’s bacon.
Vics' in the opening quarter of the second half were the better of the two teams. Brian Matthews managed to evade the offside trap, holding off Sam Sheen as he drilled a cross into the area but Mottram was across in a flash to save well low down on 54'.
Widnes responded via an incisive Sam Sheen pass that released Webb who made a terrific run - he did the hard part, rounding the stranded keeper' Donlon - only to fire over the bar with the goal gaping and at his mercy on the hour.
Widnes were again out of luck on 65' when Roberts got in behind Danny McDonnell and delivered a cross, which was met by Davies who could only head over when un-marked six yards out.
Webb made amends for his miss by breaking the deadlock on 70'. Graham was involved, making his way into the area only to see his shot saved by Donlon but the ball fell invitingly for Webb, tapping the ball home into an empty net.
Widnes’ lead didn’t last long as Vics equalised quickly. From a free-kick in by Sam Fitton, pin-ball ensued in the area with leading scorer Matthews reacting quickest to slam the loose ball beyond Mottram and into the back of the net after his initial rasping shot had been blocked by Mike Burke.
Steve Wilkes’ new-look side were now cock-a-hoop and took the lead soon after. It was a goal from nothing as substitute Jake Pollard’s wicked, swirling cross caught out Mottram, sailing into the top corner of the net with the former Trickies' goalkeeper stranded.
A succession of Widnes corners came to nothing, but Widnes were afforded one last chance deep into stoppage-time and they duly capitalised.
After Graham won a free-kick on the left - Sean Myler floated his set-piece into the area where it was headed onto the post by the head of Vics' centre-back Chris Lawton; another pin-ball scramble ensued with Gillespie reacting quickest to blast home from four yards to ensure a share of the spoils.
Vics' boss Steve Wilkes' post-match verdict with Jamie Dewsbury-
A strange game Steve, I felt Widnes were slightly the better side in the opening half and deserved their opening goal but we responded well with two quick-fire goals. The equaliser was unfortunate but it came in the 5th minute of added time which was a lot.
I didn't think there was much in the game in the first half. I think Widnes missed a couple of good chances before they went ahead, but the most pleasing thing from my point of view was the reaction from the players when we went a goal down. A team on a run like ours could have easily have folded and lost the game 2 or 3 nil, but we didn't - we dug deep and throughly deserved to go in front 2-1. I'm obviously disappointed that we conceded a goal 15 seconds from the end, but it's small steps in the right direction. We now move on to a tough game on Tuesday night away at Ashton Athletic.
Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury