REPORT: Widnes 3-1 Irlam
Widnes respond with comfortable win
Widnes FC climbed to sixth in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division as Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey’s men responded from disappointment against Charnock Richard last time out with a comfortable 3-1 win over Irlam on Saturday.
Goals from Brad Smart, Kev Pollard and Towey completed a deserved win against Irlam, who netted a late consolation goal through Jordan Icely.
Akrigg and Towey selected a much-changed line-up from Monday’s penalty shootout win over Carlisle City in the Macron Cup. Eight changes were made in total, with Phil Doran being handed a debut at left-back while new signing Sam Henry was named amongst the substitutes.
After a quiet and fairly scrappy opening, the first chance fell to Irlam as Daniel Greene hit one high and wide of the target from just outside the area.
Widnes hit the post on the 10-minute mark. Jack Banister rolled away from the challenge of MacAuley Harewood before cutting inside from the left and hitting the foot of the post with his effort.
Doran then went close to netting a debut goal. After Towey won a free-kick 30 yards from goal, Doran drove an effort towards goal that whistled narrowly past the foot of Lee White’s post.
Widnes took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Smart evaded the offside trap to latch on to a clever Towey flick before surging into the area. He remained composed to guide a tidy finish beyond White to net his fourth goal of the season.
Halftime: Widnes 1-0 Irlam
A goal to the good, Widnes were in control for large parts of the second half. Jack Graham forced an early save out of White, who then produced a stunning stop on the hour-mark to prevent Mike Burke’s ferocious volley from nestling in the top corner.
A sloppy spell followed, but Widnes soon regained their control and added a second midway through the second half.
Banister floated a corner towards that near-post that was helped towards goal by skipper Pollard, with his touch getting the better of Michael Tetteh on the goalline, who couldn’t keep the ball out as the linesman on the far side awarded the goal.
Towey then went close to a third as he poked wide of the target on the stretch after getting himself on the end of Smart’s well-weighted delivery. His blushes were spared however by the offside flag on the far side.
The Widnes joint boss soon got himself in on the act but credit must go to Sam Sheen for his part in the build-up.
It was a superb driving run from the midfielder as Sheen burst forward into the area. He squared his cross to the awaiting Towey at the back-post who turned home with a simple finish to extend his side’s lead.
Irlam grabbed a goal late on that proved to be little more than a consolation. Harewood got the better of a perhaps tired Doran to fire a cross into the area that was deflected home off the chest of visitors skipper Icely, who made a decent run to get himself on the end of the delivery.
Fulltime: Widnes 3-1 Irlam
Widnes are back in action on Wednesday as Akrigg and Towey’s men make the short trip to Crosby to take on AFC Liverpool. Kick-off 7.45pm.