REPORT: Widnes 4-0 Northwich Victoria
Four-midable Widnes ease to victory over Northwich Victoria
Goals from Ben Hodkinson, George Lomax, Kev Pollard and Chris Lomax eased Widnes to a third consecutive league win with a thumping 4-0 victory over Northwich Victoria.
Under the ‘Friday Night Lights’, Hokdinson gave Widnes the lead after just three minutes with birthday boy Lomax doubling the advantage 11 minutes later.
Pollard made it 3-0 before the half-hour, with Chris Lomax firing home early in the second half to add the gloss of a fourth.
Co-bosses Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey made three changes following the 5-0 win over Winsford United earlier in the week. With Mike Burke, Stuart Cook and Jack Banister all nursing slight knocks, Jay Roberts, George Lomax and Akrigg were all handed recalls.
Widnes started strongly and took an early lead. After Towey had been unable to connect on a Lomax cutback, Vics could only half clear to Phil Doran 25 yards from goal. He rolled a pass through to Hodkinson, who evaded the offside trap to drive home the opener.
The hosts were firmly in control, threatening a quick-fire second as Hodkinson hit a scuffed half-volley wide, before Towey forced a decent save out of Michael Donlon.
A second goal was coming, and it was George Lomax who provided it for Widnes. He played a neat one-two with Towey before showing enormous desire to get himself into the box. Towey was composed to deliver a good cross towards the back-post, where Lomax was on-hand to prod the ball beyond Donlon.
Widnes had a massive penalty shout turned down five minutes later as Hodkinson was blatantly tripped in the area, only for referee Craig Buxton to award Northwich a free-kick as Pollard was flagged offside.
The hosts continued to carry a threat, with the marauding front four of the Lomax brothers, Towey and Hodkinson leaving the visitors camped in their own half.
It was the dominance of Widnes that proved pivotal in producing a third as the half-hour approached.
Chris Lomax floated a corner towards the back-post. ‘Keeper Donlon thought about coming for the ball but decided not to, being caught in no man’s land as Pollard rose highest to nod home his 10th goal of the season.
A lengthy delay after an injury to Vics skipper John Bennett took a bit of sting out of the game towards the end of the half, with Oscar Durnin producing Northwich’s first opportunity but Richie Mottram was alert to make a decent save.
Half-time: Widnes 3-0 Northwich Victoria
Widnes threatened early in the second half but ultimately failed to test Donlon.
It didn’t take long for another to arrive, however, as six minutes into the second half, Chris Lomax netted his first goal since February.
Hodkinson played a pass into the feet of Towey who quickly released Lomax in behind. The chance appeared to break down, but Lomax twisted and turned to enginner space into the area, converting inside of the near-post.
Vics rarely threatened offensively but Mottram was called into action on the hour-mark against his former club. Ex-Northern Ireland international Johnny Gorman exchanged neat passes with Durnin on the edge of the area, but Mottram did well to push the latter’s shot away to safety.
Widnes were content with seeing out the remainder of the contest with relative ease. Roberts and George Lomax both missed the target with half-chances, while Chris Lomax came close to netting a fifth goal only to poke wide from close-range.
The hosts elected to make changes with a run of four games in seven days to come. Youngsters Elliott Jones and Tom Croughan both came off the bench to pick up valuable minutes ahead of the run-in.
There was still time for Widnes to threaten a fifth. Towey saw a shot comfortably saved by Donlon before George Lomax was unfortunate not to hit the target with a glancing header from a delicious Towey cross.
Croughan almost netted a maiden Widnes goal inside second half stoppage time, only to take a heavy touch that led to the chance breaking down.
Nevertheless, Widnes eased to an 18th win in their previous 20 league matches.
Full-time: Widnes 4-0 Northwich Victoria
Widnes now travel to Winsford United in the second leg of the Macron Cup semi-final on Tuesday, holding a 5-0 advantage from Monday’s first leg.