REPORT: Widnes 2-0 Barnoldswick Town
Widnes beat Barlick to record sixth straight win
Widnes FC made it six straight wins in all competitions with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Barnoldswick Town.
Jay Roberts gave the home side the lead 10 minutes into the second half, arrowing a shot into the bottom corner.
The lively Jack Banister continued his fine form, netting for a third straight game 12 minutes from time. His 25-yard effort took a wicked deflection before dipping under the bar to secure three points for Widnes, who climb up to fourth.
Joint bosses Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey made five changes to the side that beat Southport last time out. River Humphreys and Jack Graham were handed recalls, coming in for the unavailable Kev Pollard and Sam Sheen, who was nursing a dead leg.
Elsewhere, Joe Fielding, Danny Laverty and Sam Henry dropped to the bench, with Brad Smart, Phil Doran and Chris Lomax returning to the starting lineup.
Buoyed by their own three-game winning streak, Barnoldswick came into the game full of confidence, and started the better of the two sides.
Widnes made a slow start, not helped perhaps by the bitterly cold conditions at the Select Security Stadium. Graham over-hit a backpass towards Humphreys, allowing Joel Melia the luxury of firing a shot on goal, but Richie Mottram made a good save.
Mark Threlfall then nodded wide from an Alex Doyle free-kick, when he should have done better.
Widnes eventually found a rhythm, with in-form Towey leading the way. He brilliantly brought down Sean Myler’s pass, only for Shaun Airey to make a good recovery challenge on block the shot.
Back came Barnoldswick however as Mottram had to be alert to push a long-range Andrew Hill effort away to safety.
Thereafter, it was a fairly uneventful half. Smart forced a decent save out of Barlick’s Connor King before Zack Dale volleyed over for the visitors after latching on to Melia’s cross.
Halftime: Widnes 0-0 Barnoldswick Town
The second half was more of the same, with both sides having sporadic moments on the counter, but neither looked too threatening going forward.
It was perhaps fitting that the opening goal came via a defender. Right-back Roberts went on a marauding run from inside his own-half, driving forward. He played a neat one-two with Towey before firing a powerful drive towards goal that nestled in the bottom corner, capping off a fine individual effort.
Under the cosh in the first half, Widnes recovered and looked much more comfortable one goal to the good. Towey had the ball in the net minutes later, albeit from an offside position.
Towey should have made it 2-0 midway through the half. Banister cleverly released his teammate over the top who got in-behind the Barlick defence. Widnes’ joint boss did brilliantly, holding off the challenge of his man only to slice wide of the target when it truly mattered.
Widnes were comfortable and relatively untroubled by the visitors, and the hosts added a second 12 minutes from time.
Banister continued his rich vein of form, cutting inside from the left and releasing a shot on goal that took a wicked deflection before dipping under the bar and into the top corner.
The woodwork denied Widnes a third two minutes later as Doran hit a venomous drive from 30 yards that rattled the crossbar, with King managing to get a superb glove on the shot.
Fulltime: Widnes 2-0 Barnoldswick Town
The games continue to come thick and fast for Widnes, who face Winsford United on Monday in the Whites’ final home game of 2017. Kick-off 7.45pm.