REPORT | Colwyn Bay 2-4 Widnes
By Callum Chadwick
Towey strikes twice as Widnes win in Wales
Joint manager Kev Towey scored twice as Widnes came from behind to beat Colwyn Bay 4-2 in a thrilling encounter in North Wales.
The hosts briefly led after 30 minutes as a Josh Brizell strike and a Phil Doran own goal had cancelled out Chris Lomax’s sixth-minute opener for Widnes.
Widnes quickly responded as Towey converted a penalty before the Whites produced a dominant second-half performance to secure the points, with George Webster finishing off a delightful team move before Towey added his second on the hour.
Towey and co-boss Steve Akrigg made five changes to the side beaten at Witton Albion in the Integro Cup in midweek. Skipper Kev Pollard returned from a ban to partner the fit-again Mike Burke in central defence while Towey and Doran also returned to the starting line-up.
Elsewhere, there was a place for youngster Elliott Jones, who was rewarded for his fine form on a dual registration deal at Rylands with a start at right-back.
Widnes had a glorious chance to take a second-minute lead as Jamie Rainford evaded the offside trap to latch on to Pollard’s long clearance but his low shot was saved by the legs of Colwyn Bay keeper Patrick Rutter.
Four minutes later however, Widnes’ bright start was rewarded with the breakthrough. Webster won possession back to quickly feed Sean Myler who drove forward. With the Seagulls’ backline retreating, Myler spotted the run of Lomax, who hit an angled shot into the far corner.
Rainford again went close against his former club moments later, glancing wide from a Lomax cross with his blushes spared by the assistant on the near-side flagging for offside.
Colwyn Bay grew into the contest with skipper Tom McCready ghosting in unmarked from a corner to power a towering header towards goal that was helped over by Myler on the line.
The hosts equalised on the 25-minute mark. Craig Pritchard made a run offside as Ethan Devine played a ball over the top. Widnes switched off, allowing Brizell to arrive late, pick up the loose ball and slot beyond Richie Mottram.
The Seagulls took the lead on the half-hour mark as Doran inadvertently put through his own net in attempt to block McCready’s powerful effort from the edge of the area.
It was an action-packed first half that showed no signs of slowing down as Widnes were awarded a penalty two minutes later as Lomax went down under the sliding challenge of Lassana Mendes in the area.
Towey stepped up, and confidently sent Rutter the wrong way to equalise.
Rutter had to be called into action moments later to deny Rainford after a lovely cushioned header from Towey, before Mottram was tested from distance to push a Devine effort away to safety.
After the first period ended on an even-keel, Widnes started the second half positively, taking a 3-2 lead within the opening 90 seconds.
Jones, Lomax and Rainford were all involved in a delightful exchange, combining with a few neat flicks before Towey played a killer ball to Webster who brilliantly swept home into the top corner.
Widnes never relinquished control and should have been a couple more goals to the good had Rainford not fired straight at Rutter and Sheen not skewed a close-range effort off target.
However, Towey then added his second goal of the afternoon with a display of undoubted class.
The Colwyn Bay defence made a mess of a long ball from Mottram, allowing Towey to ghost in, get the better of Olly Marx and tidily find the far corner with a well-taken effort.
Towey again went close but Rutter produced a good save with Doran unable to capitalise on the follow-up as his effort sailed over the bar.
Widnes had all-but clinched victory when both sides rattled the woodwork in second half stoppage time. Seagulls skipper McCready saw a free-kick crash back against the crossbar after taking a slight deflection, before Rainford was denied a goal on his return to Llanelian Road, striking the foot of the post with a set-piece of his own.