REPORT | Widnes 2-1 City of Liverpool
By Callum Chadwick
Widnes secure safe progression in Liverpool Senior Cup
Widnes made it four straight wins in all competitions with victory over City of Liverpool in the Liverpool Senior Cup on Monday night.
Ben Hodkinson and Kev Towey struck first half goals either side of a Paul Williams equaliser, proving to be enough to ensure Widnes’ place in the hat for the quarter-final draw in the New Year.
Co-bosses Towey and Steve Akrigg made three changes to the side that thrashed Kendal Town last time out. Towey was one of four recognised forwards in the starting line-up as Widnes flirted with what appeared to be a 4-2-4 formation.
Towey came in to support Dale Korie-Butler in a central role while Hodkinson and George Lomax provided the width from the flanks. Elsewhere, Owen Wheeler returned in goal as Richie Mottram dropped to the bench.
New signing Alfons Fosu-Mensah was named amongst the substitutes alongside Tom Croughan – rewarded for his fine form on dual registration at Rylands.
The Whites made a positive start and took an eighth-minute lead. After combining well with Korie-Butler, Towey threaded a ball through to Hodkinson who got the better of Luke Denson to slot home the opener beyond Morgan Bacon – his fifth goal in his previous five games.
Widnes were in control early and Towey came close to a second, latching on to Hodkinson’s long-ball. Bacon was caught in no man’s land but recovered well to back-track towards his goal and collect the joint-manager’s attempted chip.
City of Liverpool offered little in clear-cut chances in the early stages but levelled the scoreline midway through the half.
After Sam Sheen fouled Tom Peterson 25 yards from goal, Williams bent a superb free-kick into the top corner to equalise for the Purps with Owen Wheeler well-beaten.
Widnes responded positively and soon regained their lead. Bram Johnstone fizzed a pass into the area towards Towey, who twisted and turned to engineer space for a shot that rebounded off the post, but he reacted quickest to bury the loose ball.
With half-time approaching, Widnes had a chance to further the lead as Towey’s clever-touch helped Akrigg’s through-ball on to Korie-Butler who raced clear only to be denied by a decent Bacon save.
After the break, the Purps began to push more bodies forward in search on an equaliser.
Keeper Wheeler had to produce a stunning save to deny Kevin McEllin on the 50-minute mark, tipping a rasping effort on to the crossbar.
Craig Robinson’s visitors came again through Peterson midway through the half, but Wheeler was out quickly to block the shot.
Fosu-Mensah and Chris Lomax were introduced from the bench as Widnes looked to see the game out, but Peterson nearly took the game to penalties late on with a glancing header that went narrowly wide with Wheeler scrambling across his goal-line.
Nevertheless, Widnes held on for victory as last season’s semi-finalists booked their place in the draw for the last-eight of the competition.