1874 NORTHWICH had to wait a while for this moment.

They reached the last four of the North West Counties League Challenge Cup in the club’s inaugural season, losing to Maine Road five years ago, and will now have a second attempt at reaching the final.

If it was required, then their campaign still has a focus.

There are encouraging signs too that they look convincing with it.

While the result suggests a close game, and the latter stages were after substitute Teal Amos reduced 10-man Barlick’s arrears with seven minutes left, the home team’s first-half superiority had put them out of their guests’ reach.

They were more incisive and, encouragingly for management duo Paul Bowyer and Wayne Goodison given their team’s previous match was almost three weeks ago, picked up where they had left off following a 5-1 thrashing of West Didsbury & Chorlton on this pitch.

A breakthrough arrived on 12 minutes from their best move of the match.

Jack Irlam and Scott McGowan combined in midfield before the latter’s pass invited Michael Koral to sprint into space on the right.

Taylor Kennerley used the pace of his driven cross to redirect the ball in the net from close-range.

A second goal might have followed when McGowan forced an error by goalkeeper Ryan Livesey who presented an opportunity to Sam Hare.

However he lifted his shot over the bar.

Instead Barlick restored parity from pretty much their first forward foray, skipper James Crorken rifling low into the corner after taming an interception Danny Meadowcroft had unintentionally poked in his direction.

It did not deter 1874, and they edged in front when Irlam thumped the ball past Livesey after Meadowcroft deflected a deep free-kick towards the target with his chest.

A rehearsed set-piece routine led to the hosts’ third five minutes later, McGowan connecting with Hare’s corner with enough power for his shot to sneak through a crowd of players.

Tony Aghayere, Northwich's goalkeeper, was called into action early in the second-half when Jack Coop jabbed Crorken’s corner towards goal.

However Barlick only flickered in attack, never applying sustained heat to their opponents’ defence, while remaining vulnerable at the other end.

Livesey had to produce his brilliant best to block Kennerley’s shot from close-range after Irlam teed up the wide-man, before reacting instantly to block a follow-up attempt.

And the balance tipped further in Northwich’s favour when referee Kristian Silcock dismissed the visitors’ Andy Hill as punishment for a second caution – both of them for clumsy, needless fouls – with 20 minutes left.

Creative spark Zack Dale, shackled impressively for the most part, finally conjured an opening for himself after wriggling into a shooting space inside 1874 area.

However Aghayere stretched to save.

He was beaten though by Crorken’s curling free-kick, which struck the outside of an upright, before Amos swerved in a neat finish after skipping away from Paul Connor on the left.

It lifted Barlick, victors by the same score-line when the teams met in Lancashire last month, but they were not granted another glimpse of goal.

Instead 1874, who have a Mid-Cheshire District FA Senior Cup semi-final to play too, celebrated a victory they deserved.

1874 | 4-2-3-1 | Aghayere (GK), Connor, Meadowcroft, Pritchard, Lee Jackson, Matthew Woolley, Hare (Gardner 79), Koral, Irlam, Kennerley (Russell 84), McGowan Subs not used Lever, Phipps, Ormrod Goals Kennerley 12, Irlam 33, McGowan 38  

Barlick | 4-3-3 | Livesey (GK), Vincent (Cookson 81), Airey, Wilson, McEneaney, Thomson, Crorken, Hill, Coop (Simpson 81), Morgan (Amos 69), Dale Subs not used Hill, Maplesden Goals Crorken 19, Amos 83 Booked Wilson, Morgan, Hill Sent off Hill (second caution) 

Referee Kristian Silcock 

Attendance 189