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1874 Northwich progress in North West Counties League Challenge Cup at expense of Squires Gate
1874 Northwich players celebrate scoring against Squires Gate on Saturday. Picture: MATTHEW DRAYCOTT
1874 NORTHWICH saw off higher-ranked Squires Gate with less fuss than they might have expected.
Their reward is a home date with Division One rivals Formby in the North West Counties League Challenge Cup last 16, the only team to have beaten Ian Street’s men in their past eight matches.
Revenge will have to wait, for now.
The visitors signalled their intent inside the opening quarter hour, hitting the woodwork twice in the same movement.
First, leading scorer Mike Brandon sent a header against the bar.
When the rebounding ball arrived in Matthew Ward’s path, he shifted the ball from one foot to the other before driving against an upright.
The former Winsford United striker was not to be denied for long, shooting on the volley past the home team’s custodian when meeting Lee Jones’ cross on 27 minutes.
Gate levelled shortly afterwards, Andy Richards escaping the attention of two players in midfield before blasting an unstoppable shot past custodian Matt Conkie from long distance.
The visitors hit the front for a second time nine minutes after the interval, this time through Brandon.
His control to tame Ryan Mitchell’s cross-field assist was impressive, the finish that followed equally so.
1874’s top scorer took his goals tally for the term to 15 after skipper Adam Foy and Ward had combined to create his next opportunity.
Ward doubled his haul for the afternoon with eight minutes left, reacting quickest to reach first a loose ball after Gate goalkeeper Ben Fletcher had made a mistake.
Substitute Tom Peers added gloss with time running out, firing in from close range to make it 5-1.
1874 Conkie (GK), Mitchell (McKay 84), Thomas, Duckworth, Stewart, Jones, Foy, Bailey (Crane 84), Wellstead (Peers 76), Brandon, Ward. Sub not used Bowyer. Attendance 135.
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