BY the time the final whistle sounded to confirm 1874 Northwich as champions, followers of their opponents had already left.

Witton, literally in their fans’ case, had been seen off.

None of them can argue with the outcome, which was never in doubt from the moment Ian Street’s side plundered two goals inside nine minutes.

In last season’s semi-final meeting, they were blitzed by fast-starting Albion.

But that is where the similarities with that tie ended, for this contest was embarrassingly one-sided.

Not that the green-clad supporters that made up most of the crowd will care.

Instead their immediate concern is to find a cabinet to store 1874’s first piece of silverware.

Northwich players knew how much that would mean, and that desire to be part of a historic moment set them apart from the hosts during a frenzied opening.

They scorched a path to Albion’s goal to take the lead, Matthew Beadle’s thumping header providing a flourish to a counter started by goalkeeper Greg Hall’s throw to Dilan Lomas.

Tyler Edwards’ cross from the left begged to be converted, and those wearing stripes were stunned.

They wilted further in the ninth minute when Craig Farnworth skimmed a header into the corner after meeting Ryan Jackson’s beautifully-arced assist.

Buoyant, 1874 had Witton on the ropes.

Albion steadied themselves before the break, but flailed rather than landing blows of their own.

Carl Macauley’s men did craft an opportunity to score when Rob Hopley flicked a header into Danny Andrews’ path.

Off-balance, the wide man prodded a volley goal-ward that prompted Hall to make a stunning save low to his right.

It was a defining, if not decisive, moment in the contest.

1874 almost added a third goal, only for another Beadle header from close range to be smuggled off the line.

Their superiority was unbroken in the second half, when they were rarely in danger of conceding.

Albion tried different combinations, stationing Jeff King in the centre while Andrews switched flanks, but still the supply to Hopley was cut off.

They were vulnerable to 1874’s speed on the break too.

Edwards threaded a pass through to Stuart Wellstead, but his drive was blocked by goalkeeper Ryan Neild with a boot.

The custodian was untroubled by Matthew Woolley’s shot too.

At the other end, substitute Joe Newton at least muddied Hall’s gloves after Andrews nudged the ball his way.

Beadle added gloss when he steered in a spot kick after Theo Chrisokhou clipped his ankle, a catalyst for those Witton supporters to slip away heads bowed.

Andrews was again thwarted by an inspired Hall, while Chris Noone sliced wide with time running out.

Macauley had said before kick-off that a derby, not least in one in a final, could not be predicted.

He certainly will not have foreseen such a chastening defeat.

For 1874 supporters, a wild dream has come true.

Witton | 4-4-2 | Neild (GK), Gardner, Chrisokhou, Wilson, Peers (Mullarkey 78), Andrews, Noone, Owens (Hickman 58), King, Hopley, Titchiner (Newton 43) Subs not used Garner (GK), Parker

1874 | 4-2-3-1 | Hall (GK), Connor, Mitchell, Farnworth, Lomas, Chappell, Matthew Woolley, Jackson (Jack Woolley 90), Edwards (Riley 90),  Wellstead, Beadle (Brandon 86) Subs not used Thomas, James Goals Beadle 3, 85 (penalty) Farnworth 9 Booked Lomas (kicking ball away), Beadle (foul)

Referee Jake Nield

Attendance 490