Report by Garry Clarke, pictures by Frank Oakes

1874 Northwich eventually secured their passage into the Macron Cup Final, but despite the scoring the holders made hard work of their task, especially in the first half.

1874 got off to a flying start at Townfield against their First Division South guests.

Taylor Kennerley skirted round the back of the Shelley defence to slide the ball across the face of goal for Harry Cain to tap in from close range at the far post with six minutes on the clock.

The lead was short lived as just four minutes later, a ball played into the 1874 penalty area split open the Green and Blacks defence allowing Sam Awty to steer the ball past Tony Aghayere to level the scores.

> 1874 co-manager Wayne Goodison's thoughts on the win over Shelley

The complexion of the game was changed just after the half hour mark when referee Jason McAuley controversially sent off Shelley goalkeeper Paul Day.

Racing on to a long ball played over the top of the Shelley backline, Scott McGowan attempted to lift the ball over the advancing Day, who despite having his arms raised appeared to head the ball clear.

After consulting one of his assistants, McAuley brandished a red card and Day was forced to leave the pitch protesting his innocence.

Substitute Marc Townsend donned the number one shirt and his first act as net-minder was to smoother Jake Parker’s free kick.

However, the stand-in goalkeeper was unable to prevent Taylor Kennerley from restoring 1874’s lead two minutes before half time with a powerfully hit shot.

Five minutes earlier, 1874 had survived a scare when Awty intercepted a misplaced pass to chip over Aghayere, but with the ball inches away from crossing the goal line James Ormrod slid to his side’s rescue to scoop the ball clear.

Ten minutes into the second half, McGowan was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes for disputing a decision by the referee.

Just after the hour mark, Parker had the ball in the net after Townsend had fumbled a Kennerley shot but he was ruled to have been offside and the goal was disallowed.

He did get on the scoresheet in the 65th minute – cutting inside from the right, he delivered an angled drive which flew in the top far corner of the net.

Northwich Guardian:

Refreshed after his spell on the sidelines, McGowan returned to the fray and opened his account for the season – bringing down a Cain cross and in one movement, he turned and steered the ball past Townsend.

Two minutes from time, Shelley struggled to clear a corner, the ball fell to captain Matt Woolley who unleashed a thunderous drive which flew into the net from 25 yards.

As the game entered stoppage time McGowan completed the scoring, sending the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot after Ryan Jackson had been brought down.

1874 Northwich will travel to the Viridor Community Stadium to face Premier Division rivals Runcorn Town in the all Cheshire final on Saturday, September 26.

1874 – Aghayere, Hind, Russell (J Woolley), Ormrod (Weir), Jones, Parker, Cain (R Jackson), M Woolley, McGowan, Hare, Kennerley. Subs not used Irlam, Duckworth.

SHELLEY – Day, Bootland, Lockwood (Smith), Leech, Daffern, Hawke, Alderton (Townsend), Barnes, Awty, Howe, Ghee, sub not used Thomas.

GOALS 1874 – McGowan 72, 90 pen, Cain 6, Parker 65, M Woolley 88.

Shelley – Awty 10



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