REPORT: Widnes 3-2 Bootle
Widnes bounce back with convincing win over Bootle
Widnes FC bounced back from a disappointing double-header last week with a well-earned 3-2 victory over Bootle on Saturday.
Joint boss Kev Towey gave Widnes the lead with a 25th minute penalty, moments before Bootle missed a penalty of their own, as Richie Mottram saved Michael Ordish’s spot-kick.
Jack Banister doubled Widnes’ advantage early in the second half with a fine finish before Bootle substitute Daniel O’Connor reduced the deficit seven minutes from time.
Widnes quickly restored their two-goal advantage through Billy Webb but Bootle made it interesting as Kieran Halligan netted late on but Steve Akrigg and Towey’s side held on for all three points.
The joint bosses made two changes to the Widnes side beaten at home by Abbey Hey last time out. Jay Roberts and skipper Kev Pollard returned from injury as they replaced the unavailable Sean Myler and Tom Mitchell, who has moved to Skelmersdale United.
The hosts started positively and created the first real chance of the afternoon. Brad Smart spotted the darting run of Banister who split the Bootle defence but he could only muster a shot straight at Jordan Gidley who saved well.
Gidley was called into action on three separate occasions early in the half. A crucial glove took Alex Davies’ cross away from Towey before the former Barnoldswick Town stopper saved from both Banister and Sam Sheen.
Minutes later, Widnes were awarded a penalty. Bootle were struggling to cope with the threat of Banister who played a neat one-two with Towey before bursting into the area where he was brought down under the challenge of Joel Powell.
Towey stepped up and confidently dispatched his spot-kick to give Widnes a deserved lead.
Less than two minutes later, Bootle were awarded a penalty as Stephen Milne was brought down by Mottram in the area, with the Widnes ‘keeper left incensed as he protested his innocence but he made amends, getting down well to push Ordish’s penalty away to safety.
Ordish carried a threat for Bootle and he had the Bucks’ best chance of the half, clipping the bar with a long-range effort although Mottram appeared to have it covered.
Widnes again went close on the stroke of half-time as Smart went on a driving run into the area only to shoot agonisingly wide after holding off the challenge of Powell.
Halftime: Widnes 1-0 Bootle
Widnes picked up where they had left off in the first half with a lightning start to the second which produced a second goal. Towey did well to hold off Anthony Rendell and release Banister into space who did the rest, holding off his man before firing a fine finish beyond Gidley to net his second goal of the season.
Smart then forced a comfortable save out of Gidley before Widnes had a penalty shout turned down as Banister was bundled over in the area but nothing was given.
Widnes were comfortable, controlling the game as they went in search of a third. Towey went agonisingly close, driving a shot inches wide of the far-post after good work by Banister in the build-up.
Bootle grew into the game in the last 10 minutes as Milne forced a good save out of Mottram before Powell nodded wide from the resulting corner.
Joe Doran and Phil Stafford’s men mustered an equaliser seven minutes from time as Daniel O’Connor rose highest to head Powell’s cross home to give Bootle a lifeline.
However, Widnes quickly restored their two-goal advantage straight from the kick-off as Mottram’s punt forward released substitute Webb who beat the on-rushing Gidley to the ball as he nodded home Widnes’ third goal of the afternoon.
Inside stoppage time, O’Connor spurned a glorious chance to net his second after directing a free header wide of Mottram’s goal after shaking off his marker.
Bootle did find a second late on as Kieran Halligan’s deflected effort nestled in the roof of the net, but Widnes managed to hold on despite many fearing a repeat of the draw at Padiham one week earlier.
Fulltime: Widnes 3-2 Bootle
Widnes are back in action on Friday night as Squires Gate visit the Select Security Stadium. Kick-off 7.45pm.