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First Team - Match center

Radcliffe FC
T Owolabi (1'), M Crothers (8'), B Wharton (62' Pen)
Full time
J Herbert (33')
Sat 22 Dec 15:00 - The Evo-Stik League - West Division Attendance 190

REPORT | Radcliffe 3-1 Widnes


Widnes suffer defeat at Radcliffe in final away game of 2018

Radcliffe will spend Christmas Day atop of the Evo-Stik League West Division after Widnes fell to a 3-1 defeat away at the Neuven Stadium.

Tunde Owolabi and Matty Crothers gave the Boro a blistering start to proceedings when both netted inside eight minutes, but debutant Joe Herbert halved the deficit for Widnes after the half-hour.

Ben Wharton converted a penalty on the hour to restore Radcliffe’s two-goal advantage, and despite plenty of endeavour from the visitors, Widnes were unable to find a way back into the contest.

Joint-bosses Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey made three changes to the side that beat City of Liverpool in midweek in the Liverpool Senior Cup.

With Danny Ventre out ill and Sam Sheen failing a late fitness test, debuts were handed to Herbert and Phil Mooney, while Sean Myler skippered the side as he came in for Towey who was named amongst the substitutes.

Youngster Elliott Jones was drafted into the 16-man squad after impressing on dual registration at Rylands as Widnes were without the unavailable pair of Michael Grogan and George Webster, whilst Conor Ready, Phil Doran and Mike Burke continue their recovery from injuries.

Radcliffe made the perfect start. Widnes never quite dealt with an aerial ball which was picked up by Liam Wood who drove at the retreating visitors. He drilled a low cross towards the near-post, finding Owolabi to turn home at the near-post via a heavy deflection that left Owen Wheeler stranded.

Widnes weren’t fazed despite suffering a setback inside the opening minute, almost hitting back immediately.

Radcliffe keeper Oliver Martin got down well to push a curling Myler free-kick off target, while in-form striker Ben Hodkinson headed over from the resulting corner.

But the visitors fell even further behind minutes later. An in-swinging corner was only momentarily scrambled away by Widnes falling to Crothers on the edge of the box who brilliantly dropped his shoulder to evade a George Lomax challenge, creating a yard of space to rifle a shot into the top corner.

The game’s biggest talking point came when the Boro’s Richard Smith appeared to kick out at Lomax after a challenge from the Widnes man. Referee Mark Powell was looking directly at the incident and appeared to reach for his back pocket only to change his mind as Smith escaped with a warning to the frustration of the travelling Widnes supporters on the near-side.

Credit to Widnes for stemming the wave after wave of Radcliffe attacks. Elliott Rokka had a header comfortably saved by Wheeler and the ever-dangerous Owolabi was causing numerous problems with his energy and dynamism out-wide.

But Widnes continued to push forward against the in-form hosts and were rewarded for their efforts as the visitors pulled a goal back on the 32-minute mark.

Myler floated a corner towards the penalty-spot where Herbert had ghosted away from his man to power a header into the roof of the net to mark his Widnes debut with a goal.

Widnes had their tails up, and somehow couldn’t find a way past Martin to muster an equaliser. Hodkinson had a header beaten away by the Radcliffe custodian who then produced a sensational triple-save to deny first Hodkinson, then Mooney and the ensuing goalmouth scramble to preserve his side’s lead.

Into the second half, neither side could particularly gather any ascendency to start proceedings but Widnes began to edge the contest as it approached it’s hour-mark.

Instead, the visitors were dealt a sucker punch when they conceded a penalty as Owolabi burst through the Widnes back-line only to go down under a Herbert sliding challenge with referee Powell pointing to the spot.

Wharton stepped up for Radcliffe and converted his penalty into the bottom corner despite Wheeler guessing correctly down to his right.

Alfons Fosu-Mensah and Chris Lomax came off the bench as Widnes went in search of a second goal to set up a tense finish, but Wharton almost put the game to bed 20 minutes from time only to be foiled by a well-time Wheeler block.

Hodkinson – who had netted five goals in his previous five games – again proved to be Widnes’ most dangerous threat and it was his threatening cross that could only be clawed away by Martin into the path of Myler who struck over from close-range on the half-volley.

Substitute Lomax would flash a shot across the face of goal late on for Widnes, but Towey and Akrigg’s men were condemned to a first league defeat in three games.

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Ben Hodkinson

Player of the Match

Ben Hodkinson

Key moments

Goal Tunde Owolabi scores for Radcliffe FC
Goal Matty Crothers scores for Radcliffe FC
Goal Joe Herbert scores for Widnes
Scored Penalty Ben Wharton scores a penalty for Radcliffe FC


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90:00 Player of the Match
Ben Hodkinson is awarded player of the match for Widnes
81:00 Yellow Card
Sean Myler is yellow carded for Widnes
71:00 Sub Off
Phil Mooney is substituted off for Widnes
71:00 Sub On
Chris Lomax is substituted on for Widnes
68:00 Sub Off
Dale Korie-Butler is substituted off for Widnes
68:00 Sub On
Alfons Fosu-Mensah is substituted on for Widnes
62:00 Scored Penalty 3 - 1
Ben Wharton scores a penalty for Radcliffe FC
59:00 Yellow Card
Dale Korie-Butler is yellow carded for Widnes
49:00 Yellow Card
Jay Roberts is yellow carded for Widnes
46:00 Kickoff
Widnes kick off
End of period 1
33:00 Assist
Sean Myler makes an assist for Widnes
33:00 Goal 2 - 1
Joe Herbert scores for Widnes
8:00 Goal 2 - 0
Matty Crothers scores for Radcliffe FC
1:00 Goal 1 - 0
Tunde Owolabi scores for Radcliffe FC
1:00 Kickoff
Radcliffe FC kick off
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Radcliffe FC
  • Widnes
  • 0
  • Tunde Owolabi Goal 1:00'
  • Matty Crothers Goal 8:00'
  • Sean Myler Assist 33:00'
  • Joe Herbert Goal 33:00'
  • Jay Roberts Yellow Card 49:00'
  • Dale Korie-Butler Yellow Card 59:00'
  • Ben Wharton Scored Penalty 62:00'
  • Dale Korie-Butler Sub Off 68:00'
  • Alfons Fosu-Mensah Sub On 68:00'
  • Phil Mooney Sub Off 71:00'
  • Chris Lomax Sub On 71:00'
  • Sean Myler Yellow Card 81:00'

Team selection

Wheeler, Owen Wheeler, Owen
Roberts, Jay Roberts, Jay
Johnstone, Bram Johnstone, Bram
Lomax, George Lomax, George
Herbert, Joe Herbert, Joe
Akrigg, Steve Akrigg, Steve
Myler, Sean Myler, Sean
Mooney, Phil Mooney, Phil
Hodkinson, Ben Hodkinson, Ben
Bourne, Robert Bourne, Robert
Korie-Butler, Dale Korie-Butler, Dale
Radcliffe FC
  • 1. Oliver Martin
  • 2. Matthew Williams
  • 3. Scott Metcalfe
  • 4. Liam Wood
  • 5. Callum Grogan
  • 6. Lewis Lacy
  • 7. Richard Smith
  • 8. Tunde Owolabi
  • 9. Ben Wharton
  • 10. Matty Crothers
  • 11. Elliot Rokka
  • 12. Mason Fallon
  • 13. James Daniels
  • 14. Matthew Carr
  • 15. Louis Myers
  • 16. Shelton Payne

League round up

Other West Division results

Atherton Collieries
Kendal Town
Colwyn Bay
Ramsbottom United
Runcorn Linnets


# Team Pl Pts
10. Kidsgrove Athletic 38 58
11. Colwyn Bay 38 52
12. Widnes 38 51
13. Chasetown 38 46
14. Droylsden 38 43
15. Newcastle Town 38 40
16. Market Drayton Town 38 40

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