An impressive Remyca won the game 4-1 away at the Select Security Stadium but that wasn’t half the story
Widnes 1-4 Litherland Remyca
North West Counties League Division One
Saturday 4th April – The Select Security Stadium
Litherland Remyca recorded a decent 4-1 away win on the road but the scoreline does not tell the full story about a fascinating encounter at the Select Security Stadium. For a start manager, Phil Stafford had selection problems with up to nine players unavailable due to injury, work commitments and non-availability. Such was the extent of the squad problem the gaffer named both himself and his assistant Andrew Olsen on the bench, neither having played for a while but both still retaining their playing registrations.
The game got underway and Remyca found the level pitch to their liking and took an early lead on 8 minutes when Remyca charged forward and the Widnes keeper’ caught the ball which was just outside of the area. From the resulting corner Steve Williams headed goal-wards, his effort came back off the cross bar, Dean Siadankey followed the ball in and bundled it over the line.
This was a period of good possession for Litherland and they nearly extended their lead shortly after when on 12 minutes Daniel Duffy latched on to a superb seeking pass from Lewis Jones out on the right hand side, Duffy’s cross just eluded Steve Williams who had made a blistering run forwards. Ten minutes later, Remyca went close again, Duffy again in the thick of the action playing a great ball forwards to Jamie Colbourn who’s shot beat the keeper’ but not the post as the ball rebounded off the upright and in to a non threatening area of the park.
On 35 minutes came a major talking point of the match when Karl Siadankey and James Ludgate tangled on the pitch in a strong tackle, there were afters though and Karl and James went head to head with strong words thrown into the mix. Paul Carney from the home side also got involved as punches were exchanged, it had escalated into a serious scurmish. The referee intervened in difficult circumstances, after several clashes on the field Ludgate was dismissed first, as he made his way to the tunnel, Karl was also dismissed. Less than impressed about this fact he then ran towards the tunnel to continue the initial debate, both players coming to blows again. It was five minutes before all of the issues were calmed, the referee then called over Paul Carney and dismissed him. The referee showed composure in a very heated environment and did well to discuss conduct with both team captains and the coaching staffs of both clubs before starting the game again.
As the first half came to an end there was still chances for both sides, Paul Cliff for the home side was impressive, he was all over the park and represented Widnes’s main threat whilst for Remyca Steve Williams and Stephen King both had opportunities. As the crowd braced itself for a long period of added time, time was called after just a few minutes and this gave all in the ground a chance to reflect on a lively first half.
As the second half got under way Remyca nearly doubled their advantage straight from the kick off when Remyca counter-attacked from the centre circle, Lewis Jones played a ball forwards that by-passed the entire Widnes midfield and defence and saw Steve Williams one-on-one with Widnes keeper’ Dave Nevitt but his shot was well saved by the Widnes stopper who was having a good game.
The pressure and extra man showed in the end when Chris Lowe played a superb ball into the box to Steve Williams who’s constant threat paid dividends, he took a touch to widen his angle to shoot and this was too much for the keeper’ and Williams struck home to the delight of the travelling support.
Litherland had plenty of chances in the game but Widnes’s goal keeper prevented the score from getting silly with some excellent stops from Williams, Webb and Duffy. Duffy was not to be denied though and on 72 minutes a ball was crossed into the box from Callum Webb, it was well positioned as it caused confusion amongst the home defence, Duffy swung his leg around the ball, it seemed to catch his own knee but the change of pace confused the shot stopper and the ball looped over and into the net to make it 0-3.
At this point Remyca were afforded the luxury of bringing experienced striker Andy Olsen on to the park to sure things up, his appearance was greeted with hardy applause from the Remyca fans. Andy rolled back the years with an imposing presence, his positioning was excellent and you could tell that a player of his calibre had learned so much in an esteemed career, he didn’t need lightening pace, even stealthy lions stalk pray before using most effort at the last minute to claim their gazelle lunch, Andy was the epitome of this on the pitch.
He nearly made an immediate impact when a cross came in from the right hand corner, Olsen had a free header in the box that showed his quality as he diverted the ball with power goalwards, the crossbar got in the way though but took a clattering. A couple of minutes later he got his reward for his effort, again good work from the right hand side saw the ball played on to the edge of the six yard box, Andy shook off the attentions of a defender and at the second attempt stroked home a delicate but accurate shot into the corner that brought the biggest cheer of the day as Litherland took a 4-0 lead.
There was to be a sting in the tail on the day though, Paul Cliff who’s pace had caused the Remyca defence issues all afternoon played a ball forwards to Gary Williams who from close range turned and fired in past Daniel Manning to make it 4-1.
All in all a 4-1 win away from home was very satisfactory, the dispute between players in the first half was unsavoury and from there the game was very open on a decent stage. Andy Olsen’s first competitive goal in a calendar year, his first since scoring for St Helens against AFC Blackpool was a highlight for many but to some it was food for thought for what could have been had a couple of recent results had gone their way. No time to rest for Phil Stafford’s charges as a Bank Holiday Monday trip to Irlam beckons.
Litherland Remyca: Manning, Lowe, Simms, D.Siadankey, King, Jones, K.Siadankey, Williams, Colbourn, Webb.