Widnes 1-1 Cheadle Town

Every now and again when the final whistle goes you puff out your cheeks and feel grateful for coming away with a result; this was one of those occasions.

For large parts of this match we were just simply not, as the footballing vernacular goes, "on it". Granted that we defended very well to keep Widnes at bay but we were frustratingly content to give the ball away cheaply in the other two thirds of the pitch and create our own problems; we showed promise in small patches...but they were far too infrequent for the coaching staff to be anywhere near satisfied.

That said, and here's the real positive to take, to play well below what you are capable of and still come away with a result says something.

In tacit recognition of the kind of night we had, our goal was as scruffy as they come. With a minute remaining of the first half Chris Sherrington's shot looped up over the Widnes keeper who had to reposition his feet to tip it onto the crossbar; he could then do absolutely nothing to stop the combined onslaught of Mssrs Rawlings and Whyatt piling in, with the latter eventually bundling the ball home.

To the neutral our 1-0 half-time lead would have raised an eyebrow as it was Widnes who asked all of the questions.

After an uneventful first 19 minutes the hosts squandered their first great chance when one of their forwards had a free header from a corner but planted his effort wide. A minute later and Steve Piggott had to get down smartly to stop a drive from the edge of the box.

Shortly before half-time the hosts then went on a breakaway with their no11 latching onto a cross but side-footing his effort wide when in a good position.

We had managed to continue soaking up and clearing anything that Widnes threw at us in the second half but finally relented shortly after the hour mark, an unmarked Davies hooking home at the far post following a cross from the right wing.

Widnes then had their tails up and went for the kill, forcing Steve Piggott into an excellent stop after 69 minutes. 

That seemed to kick us into life a bit as we then created a handful of half-chances in the remaining 20 minutes of the match.

Luke Hincks went on a lung-busting run from midfield to feed the ball through to Chris Sherrington on the left but the angle died on him and his shot flew over. Newly-introduced Dean Nolan then sent in a cross from the right that Rick Whyatt was close to connecting with but it was poked away in the nick of time.

Down the other end Nathan McAuley had to hack a corner off the line on 76 minutes before Liam Tongue then got himself onto a Luke Pearson corner to stab just wide of the post.

Luke himself then had a moment of madness as he, thinking the ball was running out of play, allowed a Widnes player to rob it from him and descend on goal; luckily the resulting shot was straight into Piggott's arms.

Widnes then came within a post-width of winning the match on 85 minutes as their no7 made space for himself in the box before swinging a shot in, only for it to cannon off the woodwork.

We actually could have pinched it in injury time but our free-kick, in a good position on the edge of the box, was wasted and that was that.

And so onto Saturday when we entertain Daisy Hill....

TEAM: Piggott, McLaughlin, Pearson, Trucca, Tongue, McAuley, Mason, Hincks, Rawlings (Nolan), Whyatt, Sherrington (Magida). SUBS: Dixon (gk), Kennedy, Magida, Rathburn, Nolan, Horan.