REPORT: Cammell Laird 1907 1-2 Widnes
Whyte nets twice as Widnes see-off Lairds
Chad Whyte netted twice as Widnes FC continued their pre-season preparations with a 2-1 against recently relegated Cammell Laird 1907.
Whyte gave Widnes the lead with 17 minutes on the clock before Lairds’ Ben Holmes equalised with a spot-kick midway through the second half after Stephen Rigby was penalised for a foul.
After Sam Sheen missed a penalty for Widnes, Whyte added his second less than two minutes later with a composed finish after good work by Alex Davies.
Manager Joey Dunn made seven changes from Tuesday’s win over the Widnes Cup representative side. In came Jack Cookson, Jay Roberts, Stephen Rigby, Mike Burke, Jack Graham, Chad Whyte and Anthony Beyga.
Widnes started well and had an early goal disallowed. A deep corner from Rigby was directed home by a towering Steve Akrigg header but the defender was penalised for a foul.
In truth, Widnes dominated the majority of the first half and controlled possession with Lairds failing to test ‘keeper Jack Cookson. Striker Whyte was lively up-front whilst the movement of Davies and Roberts down the right channel was proving to be handful for the Lairds backline.
Widnes’ freedom down the right-hand side proved pivotal as Dunn’s side grabbed the opening goal. Colin Quirk was instrumental in the build-up as it was his clever pass that released Roberts and it was the right-back’s cutback that was turned home inside the 6-yard area by Chad Whyte who grabbed his third goal in as many pre-season outings.
Further chances followed as Quirk blazed a shot high and wide of the target before Lairds ‘keeper Richie Cowderoy made a good save to deny Whyte a second goal of the evening.
Cowderoy was again called into action as he made a good block to keep out Anthony Beyga’s near-post effort after Rigby’s initial effort was charged down.
The second half started slowly with Widnes spurning a good opportunity to double their advantage on the stroke of the hour-mark. Beyga displayed a great turn of pace to get in behind the Lairds defence before unselfishly squaring the ball to Whyte who could only shoot straight at Cowderoy with his effort.
Seven minutes later, Lairds were awarded a penalty as full-back Rigby was penalised for a foul. Ben Holmes confidently stepped up and stroked his spot-kick into the bottom corner despite Widnes ‘keeper Jack Cookson guessing correctly.
Widnes were presented with a chance to quickly restore their lead as they were awarded a penalty of their own as Sheen’s effort struck a hand in the area. Sheen took the penalty himself, but it was a poor effort from the Widnes man as he dragged his spot-kick wide.
Less than two minutes later, Widnes finally netted their second. Davies drove forward into space and threaded a pass through to Whyte who evaded the offside trap before applying a composed finish into the bottom corner.
A flurry of changes followed, and soon after, Rigby effortlessly went past his man on the far side before finding substitute George Lomax with his cross, but the striker would have been disappointed with his effort, as he could only stab an effort over the bar.
Lairds then went close themselves as Joe Malkin’s stinging drive towards goal was beaten away brilliantly by the outstretched Cookson before Lomax fired a shot wide after playing a neat one-two with brother Chris at the other end.
The victory marked Widnes’ third triumph of pre-season. Next up for Widnes is a trip to Hallmark Security League Premier Division rivals Burscough on Saturday.
Widnes: Cookson, Roberts, Rigby, Sheen, Burke, Akrigg (Mitchell 75), Davies, Graham, Whyte (G. Lomax 75), Quirk (C. Lomax 75), Beyga (Woods 71).
Subs not used: None.