REPORT: City of Liverpool 1-4 Widnes
Unbeaten run goes on with emphatic victory at City of Liverpool
Skipper Kev Pollard and Chris Lomax both hit stunning strikes as Widnes put City of Liverpool to the sword with a resounding 4-1 win at the TDP Solicitors Stadium.
Pollard's rasping drive put Widnes ahead before joint boss Kev Towey added a second deep into first half stoppage time from the spot.
Ben Hodkinson added a third early in the second half, with Chris Lomax netting a stunning fourth 15 minutes from time while Joe Camozzi bagged a late consolation for the hosts.
Towey and co-manager Steve Akrigg made two changes to the side that won at Runcorn Linnets one week earlier. With Mike Burke suspended, Jack Banister returned to the starting line-up as Michael Grogan dropped into defence while Hodkinson was preferred to George Lomax up front.
The visitors enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges with Towey unable to poke home after Mottram's long ball forward caused chaos amongst the City of Liverpool back four while Hodkinson couldn't quite get on the end of a dangerous Lomax delivery.
Despite Widnes' positive start, the hosts had a great early chance thwarted by the gloves of Mottram. The visitors wasted a free-kick allowing City of Liverpool to launch a counter-attack led by Jack Hazlehurst. The youngster's cutback found Tom Peterson, but Mottram pulled off an outstanding save to his right.
Widnes survived a scare but looked comfortable in control of proceedings. The visitors were rewarded for their dominance on the stroke of the half-hour mark.
Akrigg and Towey's men were patient, with a flowing move allowing Banister to tee up Pollard from 30 yards, with the Widnes captain hitting a thunderous drive into the far corner that left the outstretched Michael Langley with no chance.
Widnes were firmly in the ascendancy, with Lomax again sending another cross into the six-yard area that narrowly evaded the late arriving pair of Towey and Hodkinson.
The visitors were awarded a penalty in first half stoppage time. Hodkinson was played through on goal and managed to round Langley only to go down under the challenge of the Purps' goalkeeper despite the striker's best attempts to convert from close-range.
Referee Peter Simm awarded Widnes a spot-kick, which Towey duly dispatched before celebrating in front of the hosts' faithful behind the goal.
Half time: City of Liverpool 0-2 Widnes
Widnes were firing on all cylinders, adding a third only four minutes into the second half.
Pollard had a header inadvertently blocked on the line by teammate Towey from a Lomax corner. However, the ball was sent back into the area, only to be cleared as far as Hodkinson who hit a powerful volley that nestled in the back of the net.
The cruising visitors went in search of a fourth with Hodkinson finding himself one-on-one with Langley who managed to sweep away the danger before Phil Doran fired narrowly over from 40 yards.
Widnes struck the post midway through the half, with Grogan striking the foot of the post from two yards out after Towey's deflected effort fell on a plate for the former Marine man, but he couldn't convert.
The pick of the goals was saved for last with Chris Lomax netting a goal of the season contender. He combined with brother George, brought on as a substitute, down the left-hand side with the winger finding the net with a delicious lob from an acute angle that sailed over Langley on its way in.
City of Liverpool grabbed a consolation 10 minutes from time. Joe Camozzi gave his best efforts to lift the home side following his introduction from the bench and he was rewarded with a goal, slotting beyond Mottram after a neat pass from Karl Noon.
It was too little too late for the home side, but they enjoyed a decent spell late in the game. Peterson hit an acrobatic effort wide before Hazlehurst forced a good save out of Mottram.
Widnes were perhaps guilty of being too comfortable as Purps' skipper Kevin McEllin skied over late on but the visitors already had the three points in the bag.
Full time: City of Liverpool 1-4 Widnes
Widnes have now picked up an impressive tally of 40 points from a possible 42 in the league since the end of November.
Akrigg and Towey's side have opened up a nine-point gap over third-placed Charnock Richard, who sit level on points with fourth-placed Runcorn Town. Both have five games in hand on Widnes.
Widnes face a Hallmark Security League Premier Division double-header next weekend, travelling to Maine Road on Saturday before hosting Runcorn Linnets in an 'El Clasitoll' rematch on Monday.