WIDNES 1 COLNE 2
Northern Premier League North West Division
Little point in disguising it, this was not my first game choice. As Storm Dennis started it destruction of the fixture list I kept casting my eye to this clash. I am probably not alone with the thought that the Halton Stadium is not one of my favourite grounds to watch football, however, it has a great advantage, games are rarely called off. So, in the end I jumped on the Liverpool bound train and alighted at Widnes Station.
Following a 25 minutes stroll in the wind I was at the ground and trying to find my way in, this time it was at the turnstiles at the town end of the main stand. Drink and programme purchased I took my seat as the teams warmed up in pouring rain. Weather that had changed to bright sunshine with a glorious rainbow over North Cheshire by the times they came out for kick-off.
Very little happened for the first quarter of this match other than both teams trying to cope with the wind, especially in the south-east corner where the corner flag touched the ground at times the wind was so strong. Then we had a moment that the nome keeper Mottram will want to forget as soon as possible, a long clearance from Hasler-Clegg bounced harmlessly towards him just outside his box, he moved round the ball to clear it and missed it. Colne’s striker Bradley was onto the loose goalbound bouncing ball making sure and sidefooting into the empty goal. 0-1.
Widnes tried to get back into the game, but the visitors playing 3 at the back looked comfortable. Player/Joint-Manager Towey went close, Jennings tried a clever flick, but Colne stood firm. With 5 minutes to go Bradley was played in on the edge of the area, his first touch let him down, even so it needed a good tackle from Humphries to stop him, McQuade picked up the loose ball, forward to Steele, he waited for the defender to close and went past him with ease playing in Murray who was 45 yards out but through against the Reds keeper Burton, Hasler-Clegg in chase. What happened next was quite bizarre. As he got in the area Burton came out, he poked the ball past him, the ball was bobbling towards the goal, but Hasler-Clegg would surely clear it. He slid in, but didn’t even swing a foot. As the ball hit the post the defender slid into the net, the ball then spun off the post around the prone full-back and somehow across the line. 1-1. One of the weirdest goals I have ever seen. The Colne defenders team-mates and manager did not look best pleased with the number 3.
Back came Colne and Bradley, the lively forward was played in on the inside right channel, lobbing the ball over Mottram only to see bounce wide of the far post. Half-time. The second part of the half a lot more lively and better than the first.
After the restart both teams tried to assert themselves on this match, the visitors going close when Bradley failed to get a full touch on Hey’s cross. The Whites half-time substitute Hodkinson tested Burton from distance wit ha fierce effort in the swirling wind, the number one keeping it out. With a quarter of the game to go we got our winner, good build-up in midfield and Hughes was free on the left wing, free he had plenty of time to pick out Bradley who took his chance well from 7 yards out. Mottram no chance. 1-2.
The hosts came again, Steele went on a run, his placed shot bringing off a nice for the photographers save from Burton and that was pretty much that. As various non-league managers and coaches left just before the end, all taking in a game as their own teams had fallen foul of the weather this fan trudged back to the station in the rain and off home.
Moment of the Match: Cannot believe I am not going for either of the goal howlers, but it has to go to the worst electronic scoreboard I have seen in years. Needs a bit of TLC.
Match Tunes: Plastic Letters – Blondie.