REPORT: Squires Gate 1-2 Widnes
Widnes come from behind to record second successive league win
Widnes FC came from behind to beat Squires Gate at The Brian Addison Stadium on Friday night, securing their second successive league victory.
Second half goals from Chris Lomax and Tom Mitchell cancelled out Dean Ing’s opener as the visitors bounced back from last weekend’s FA Vase defeat at the earliest opportunity.
Widnes have started their maiden Hallmark Security League Premier Division campaign slowly, but Joey Dunn’s side are starting to build momentum ahead of Monday’s game against Burscough.
Manager Dunn made three changes to the side that were beaten by Glasshoughton Welfare last time out. Kev Towey came in for the injured Billy Webb whilst Sean Myler came in for Luke Edwards who dropped to the bench. Meanwhile, Tom Mitchell was given the nod at centre-half alongside Mike Burke in place of Kev Pollard, who was named amongst the substitutes despite suffering from illness. Towey captained the side in Pollard’s absence.
It was a frenetic start to the game with both sides looking to get forward early with pace. Widnes had an early chance cleared off the as Towey managed to get on the end of Andy Gillespie’s well-weighted cross, only to be thwarted by Gate player/manager Danny Penswick who managed to hook the striker’s goalbound header away from danger.
Jack Williams then managed to turn Mitchell before closing on goal for Gate only to shoot over the bar.
Widnes then threatened, with Towey’s clever backheel engineering space for Jack Graham to drive a daisy-cutter narrowly wide of the far-post.
The visitors looked dangerous offensively but couldn’t turn possession into goals. Tony Donaldson displayed superb passing ability as the teenager picked out Lomax on the far-side who proceeded to advance forward only to see his shot blocked before winning a free-kick that Sean Myler would fire over.
Donaldson, who produced another composed performance in midfield, was again involved for Widnes as his deep cross intended for Towey was a delicious one, but the striker could nod over from close-range, albeit under pressure.
Widnes were then made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal as Squires Gate took the lead. Williams managed to hold off the challenge of Burke before cutting the ball back for Mark Buchan. His shot was scuffed, but it fell kindly for Dean Ing who reacted quickest to turn the ball home from inside the six-yard area.
Widnes came close to an immediate reply as Lomax hit a well-timed volley towards goal only to be denied by the post, before Gillespie missed the target with his effort after latching on to Towey’s threaded pass.
Halftime: Squires Gate 1-0 Widnes
Following a first half affected by inefficiency in front of goal, Widnes wasted little time in the second period and found the all-important equaliser on the 51-minute mark.
Towey brought the ball down in midfield and cleverly released Chris Lomax who continued his rich vein of form, initially seeing his prodded effort denied by Ben Fletcher before quickly pouncing on the rebound to slot home his third goal in his last two league outings.
Widnes were in control and went in search of a second goal. It was a combination of committed defending and a lack of a cutting edge kept the visitors at bay as Mitchell headed Lomax’s cross over before substitute Luke Edwards drove a shot against the body of a Squires Gate defender.
The visitors continued to up the pressure and were rewarded with a second goal as the midway point of the half approached.
Myler floated a corner towards the near-post, met by Gillespie who managed to shake off his marker only to see his header blocked on the line. Defender Tom Mitchell was quickest to react, slamming home the loose ball to give Widnes a deserved lead.
A tense finish lay ahead, but Widnes were cursing their luck as to how they didn’t net a third to all-but kill the game. Edwards struck the post with a curling effort only for Lomax to see his follow-up parried away by Fletcher. Gillespie looked to capitalise on the stricken goalkeeper, only for his shot to be blocked by the flying body of David Rossall.
Widnes were almost left ruing their luck as Gate were denied a late equaliser by the narrowest of margins. Forward Williams opportunistically tried his luck from the halfway line, catching out the back-tracking Mottram with a sailing effort only for the ball to bounce back off the post.
Inside stoppage time, Widnes were again denied by the woodwork as Donaldson burst forward and released Gillespie who couldn’t quite get a shot away. He squared the ball to Edwards, who could only watch in disbelief as his curling effort struck the foot of the post before falling harmlessly wide.
It mattered little however, as Widnes hung on for a deserved three points.
Fulltime: Squires Gate 1-2 Widnes
After a nervy end to a good game, Widnes managed to hold on to continue their climb up the table.
Dunn’s side now face a quick turnaround as Widnes entertain Burscough on Monday night at the Halton Stadium. Kick-off 7.45pm.