1874 Northwich

North West Counties League Premier Division

Last season’s position: Tenth

The outcome of one game, curiously the last on the fixture list, changed a verdict on 1874’s campaign.

Aaron Smith’s goal with time running out secured for them victory in the Macron Cup final against City of Liverpool – another first in the club’s short history.

The manner of their success, dominating a side that had celebrated being promoted as North West Counties League Premier Division champions, has had a transformative effect.

Early exits from both the FA Cup and FA Vase were disappointing, while a humbling by Northwich Victoria at the semi-finals stage of the Mid-Cheshire District FA Senior Cup was painful for too.

A tally of 11 league draws – more than any rival – fuels a sense of what might have been.

READ > Reasons to be cheerful for 1874 after Macron Cup win

Story of the summer

  • Three key players – goalkeeper Tony Aghayere, wide-man Taylor Kennerley and leading goal-scorer Scott McGowan sign contracts
  • Off the field, the board and supporters prepare for the start of a ground-share with Barnton at Townfield
  • Club’s release of a new away shirt designed by digital artist Phil Galloway is a viral sensation

INTERVIEW > Phil Galloway on 1874 Northwich's shirt design


New recruits

James Blair DEF; Harry Cain FOR (from Sandbach United); Lee Knight FOR (from Padiham); Nathan Okome MID (from Knutsford); Nick Ward GK (from Poynton)

Northwich Guardian: 1874 Northwich co-manager Paul Bowyer1874 Northwich co-manager Paul Bowyer

Pre-season quote

“We’ve learned from the mistakes we made last summer, and this has probably been the best pre-season we’ve had.

“The facts are that in the past two years we haven’t achieved what we should have done and a starting well is key for us if we’re to put that right.”

Wayne Goodison (co-manager)

How is August looking?

Aug 3, Padiham (h); Aug 6, Winsford United (h); Aug 10, Clitheroe (a) (FAC); Aug 17, Charnock Richard (a); Aug 20, Irlam (h); Aug 24, Whitchurch Alport (a); Aug 26, Runcorn Town (a); Aug 31, Prestwich Heys (h) (FAV)

Management team’s main challenge

While Scott McGowan is a guarantee of goals – he has almost 80 to his name in the past two seasons – it is important to lighten a burden on his shoulders.

Newcomer Lee Knight and teenager Kyle Phipps are alternatives at the point of 1874’s attack but a bigger contribution from midfield and defence will be important if they are to improve on last term’s tally.

The squad has more depth than previously, so keeping everybody happy and committed to the cause will take skill, and whoever plays must adjust initially to new surroundings at Barnton.

Last season’s results: W15 D11 L12

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

FA Vase Second Round

Macron Cup Winners

Cheshire FA Senior Cup Last 16

Mid-Cheshire District FA Senior Cup Semi-finals

Northwich Guardian: Goalkeeper Tony Aghayere, left, was one of 1874 Northwich's most reliable performers in the second-half of last season, keeping eight clean-sheets.. Picture: Ian DuttonGoalkeeper Tony Aghayere, left, was one of 1874 Northwich's most reliable performers in the second-half of last season, keeping eight clean-sheets.. Picture: Ian Dutton

First name on the team-sheet

Tony Aghayere

And not because he’s number one.

1874 found the solution to their goalkeeping conundrum rather later than they would have liked, but the former Padiham custodian’s impact arguably made his arrival worth the wait.

A tally of eight shut-outs from 17 starts following his transfer was enough to persuade management duo Paul Bowyer and Wayne Goodison to offer the 22-year-old a contract earlier this summer.

No longer with them

Paul Connor DEF (to Congleton); Sam Freakes MID (to Congleton); Jack Lever DEF (to Winsford); Kazim Waite-Jackson MID (to Alsager)

Past five seasons: Tenth; Seventh; Fifth; Fourth; Third

Pre-season results

Jul 6, Market Drayton (a) 3-0; Jul 13, Pontefract Colls (a) 2-6; Jul 16, Hyde (a) 0-1; Jul 18, Barnton (h) 3-2; Jul 20, Rhyl (a) 2-0; Jul 23, Chester (h) 1-4; Jul 27, City of Liverpool (a) 1-2