Hat-trick hero Ben Tollitt ensures comfortable Widnes victory
A hat-trick from Ben Tollitt led Widnes to a 4-2 victory over a strong Daisy Hill outfit at the Select Security Stadium
The home side came into the game off the back of an away win over Barnton in the Men United Cup in their previous outing. That win enlisted Ste Hill’s men with a good boost of confidence to take into the league. Daisy Hill came into the game in a good run of form, having made an excellent start to their campaign, having won four of their last five games.
The game started fantastically well for Widnes as Tollitt bagged his first goal of the encounter after two minutes. Good work in midfield between James Ludgate and Ronnie McCarthy proved pivotal in the goal, as McCarthy fed Tollitt, who slotted the ball past the oncoming goalkeeper into the back of the net.
Daisy Hill replied instantly after three minutes. The ball fell to striker Curtis Cummins at the back post who cut inside before unleashing a powerful shot that was too hot for Widnes goalkeeper Rob Cork, as he tipped it into the top left-hand corner.
There was a positive energy to the game in the opening stages, as both teams had their fair share of chances. It was Daisy Hill who were next to threaten with a clear-cut chance however, as Cummins this time around was denied by Cork, who made an excellent diving save to his left to stop what was a great header.
Widnes began to control possession midway through the first half, as they started to dictate play and hold the away side to shots from distance, one of which by Andrew Buckley forced a good save out of Cork in the Widnes goal.
The home side managed to force a counter attack from the resulting corner, as Tollitt broke away from the Daisy Hill defence. He found Bradley Williams, who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. However, he took too much time and allowed Deidhiou Abdoulaye to smother the ball before Williams could muster a shot.
Widnes regained the lead shortly before half-time. A defensive error allowed the opportunistic Joel Douglas to steal possession of the ball. He rounded the ‘keeper and diverted the ball into the net.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first as there was drama shortly after the game restarted. Widnes once again broke through Tollitt on the counter-attack who was through in on goal before Daisy Hill’s captain Ryan Mee pulled back the striker. The referee deemed this as preventing a goal scoring opportunity. Subsequently, he showed Mee the red card.
The game had lost some of the pace it had in the first half as both teams were fairly content with slowing proceedings down by keeping possession of the ball.
However, Widnes doubled their advantage shortly before the hour-mark. Earlier goalscorer Joel Douglas did extremely well to latch on to a hopeful ball forward by Tom Mitchell
. He played the ball into the 6-yard box, where Tollitt bagged his second and the home side’s third with a neat finish.
The goal shot the game into life and gave Widnes a lot more energy going forward. This paid off as Tollitt secured his hat-trick two minutes later, as he turned the ball home from point-blank range.
Daisy Hill made two changes following the quick fire double from the home side. They made the move to shore things up at the back following Mee’s earlier dismissal. This gave them the freedom to do more going forward. The change worked a treat for the away side, as substitute Simon Farrell’s long-range was shot was parried into the path of Stephen Barlow by ‘keeper Cork, who could only watch as Barlow tapped the ball into an empty net.
The fast paced action showed no signs of going away as Widnes threatened again shortly afterwards. Douglas broke away again from the Daisy Hill defence. He was beckoning down on goal until a fantastic sliding challenge from Jordan Hussey prevented the forward from scoring his second goal of the afternoon.
Widnes then used the one man advantage to ensure victory. Excellent play in midfield between the captain McCarthy, Ludgate and Man of the Match Jay Cooper was a particular highlight in the closing stages for the home side, who didn’t have another glaring opportunity to score their fifth until the 92nd minute, as Tollitt very nearly scored his fourth goal of the game. His shot cannoned off the post from a tight-angle as Widnes held on for their second consecutive victory.
Widnes manager Ste Hill thought that his side fully deserved their victory. “I thought right from the kick-off, we got off to a great start but then we conceded a good goal from them and it was close to be honest. But then we got the goal before halftime, which gave us something to hang on to.”
He added, “In the second half, you can argue that the sending off played an important part in the game, but I’ve got to give Daisy Hill credit. They never lay down after the sending off and I was relieved after the third goal went in. The lads played very well though and they competed well with a very good side.
Hill also praised hat-trick hero Ben Tollitt
following the game. “I think Ben did very well today, but I think he could have scored a few more if he timed his run a little bit better. But, Ben has all the talent in the world, and he is fully capable of doing things like he did today. It’s just a question of whether or not he can finish, and can he stay onside.”
SLL Properties Man Of The Match James Cooper
Next week is another break from league action for Widnes, as they travel to face A.F.C. Emley in the second qualifying round of the FA Vase.