REPORT: Abbey Hey 0-3 Widnes
Widnes record first league win of the season
Widnes FC picked up their first league win of the season on Wednesday night with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Abbey Hey.
Billy Webb opened the scoring for Widnes before second-half strikes from Chris Lomax and Tom Mitchell ensured that Joey Dunn’s side got themselves up and running with a valuable three points.
Manager Dunn made two changes to the side that were beaten at West Didsbury & Chorlton on the opening day of the season. Webb and Lomax both came into the starting at the expense of Mitchell and George Lomax who both dropped to the bench.
Widnes started well and took control of possession against the hosts who were content with soaking up pressure before looking to hit Dunn’s side on the counter-attack.
Kev Towey – making his 50th Widnes appearance on the night – had the first meaningful effort after 14 minutes, firing a shot over the bar from the edge of the area.
Colin Quirk then went close for Widnes, drilling a well-struck shot wide of the post after Towey exchanged passes with teammate Sean Myler.
Widnes took the lead shortly after the half-hour mark. Alex Davies’ long-ball forward was brought down well by Towey. The talismanic striker did well to engineer space for a neat pass that released strike-partner Billy Webb into space who applied a sublime finish, finding the top corner in off the upright to register his first goal of the season.
Towey came close to extending Widnes’ lead late in the first half. Davies, ever keen to roam forward from left-back, delivered a deep cross towards the back-post, met by Towey but Abbey Hey ‘keeper Elliot Wynne did well to make a smart stop to deny the Widnes man.
Halftime: Abbey Hey 0-1 Widnes
Following a relatively quiet opening half with little to shout about at both ends of the field, Widnes started the second half well and were denied a second goal less than two minutes into the half.
Quirk was again at the forefront of a Widnes attack, this time receiving a Myler pass before forcing a superb diving save out of Wynne with a stinging drive that looked destined to nestle in the top corner.
Widnes suffered a blow nine minutes into the half as defender Mike Burke hobbled off following an innocuous collision with Abbey Hey man Ashford Blake. Burke was booked for the challenge, but couldn’t continue and was replaced by Mitchell.
The visitors added a second as the hour-mark approached. It was a swift, flowing Widnes move as Towey probed forward, linking up with strike-partner Webb who quickly spread play wide to Chris Lomax. Lomax advanced forward, initially running into trouble before space opened up for a shot, and the winger duly obliged, curling a fine effort into the top corner with Wynne well beaten.
A third goal was on the cards and it came 20 minutes from time. Widnes again threatened from a set-piece as Quirk lofted a corner into the area where Tom Mitchell was on-hand to find the net with a cushioned volley. ‘Keeper Wynne got a solid hand to the effort, only helping Mitchell’s shot home via the post.
There was still time for Widnes to come close to adding a fourth on two separate occasions.
Quirk spotted Towey in space on the far side and released the striker into space with a well-weighted pass. Towey was through on goal but he didn’t quite connect as he attempted to lob on-rushing ‘keeper Wynne who ended up making a simple save.
Inside stoppage time, Towey was again involved as he made light work of Jack Tinning before looking to pick out substitute Chad Whyte, who saw his header cleared off the line.
Fulltime: Abbey Hey 0-3 Widnes
It was a well-earned and welcomed for victory for Widnes, who are finally on the board in their debut Hallmark Security League Premier Division campaign.
This weekend marks the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, leaving Widnes without a game. Dunn’s side are back in action in their home league opener on Saturday 26th August, taking on Ashton Athletic at the Halton Stadium. Kick-off 3pm.