The 1874 Column - by Matt Waters.

AFTER 154 days since the tie was first scheduled, 1874 reached the Macron Cup final after Saturday’s emphatic 6-1 win over Shelley.

Goals from Scott McGowan (2), Matt Woolley, Harry Cain, Jake Parker and Taylor Kennerley sets up a tie against fellow Premier Division side Runcorn Town at the Viridor Stadium.

Here is how 1874 reached the final with a trophy defence, beginning back in October with a thumping 5-1 win over Cheadle Heath Nomads thanks to goals from Callum Gardner, Matt Woolley, Mike Koral, Taylor Kennerley and Scott McGowan.

Following that first round win 1874 hosted Irlam, who previously triumphed 4-2 earlier in the league season.

However, 1874 comfortably made the third round winning 4-0 with a brace from Scott McGowan and one each for Captain Matt Woolley and substitute Callam Gardner.

The third round saw us edge out fellow promotion rivals on penalties after it had ended 1-1 after normal time.

Taylor Kennerley broke the deadlock ten minutes from time before Lewis Buckley levelled the tie at the death after he smashed the ball past Aghayere taking the game to penalties.

However, just like the previous shootout three weeks before against Witton Albion, Aghayere denied Rylands twice from the spot and with another going wide, Matt Russell converted the winning penalty sending us into the Quarter Final against Maine Road.

1874 returned to Macron Cup action in February against Maine Road. Scoring a combined ten goals and conceding one in the previous rounds.

1874 were looking to continue the trophy defence in a similar fashion, and that is exactly what happened.

Once again, our free-flowing football was too much for the Division One side as we ran out 4-0 winners on the night. Like the rounds before, Scott McGowan and Taylor Kennerley were back on the scoresheet alongside a double from Jake Parker setting us up for a semi-final clash against Shelley.

Finally, Saturday’s win against Shelley was the perfect way to bounce back after losing heavily to Warrington Rylands in the FA Cup. Like we did so often earlier in the competition, we scored freely in a game where we could have even scored more.

When speaking to Wayne Goodison after reaching the final he said, “we’ve been in this position before and whoever you come up against in a final it’ll be a tough game. Runcorn will be a tough game and they deserve to be in the final.”

Record goal scorer Scott McGowan told me he sees it as a must win ahead of the season starting.

“It is a chance to put last season fully behind us.

“I think it’s great the league decided to continue with the competition and now we’re in the final we have to go and win it. Nobody has won it back to back so hopefully we can make history.”