THE flat pitch and wide open spaces of the Lyme Valley Stadium has always lent itself to good football and exciting games and this was no exception.
The only thing lacking was goals but the swirling wind made things difficult in a match that was dominated by two well-organised defences.
The home side probably had the better of the first half but the Blues grew in strength and were clearly the better team as the game progressed and would consider themselves unlucky not to take all the points home with them.
The game began in promising fashion for Winsford with Phil Mason’s 1st minute shot from the left edge of the area being saved by John Ritchie but Newcastle began to put neat moves together and the visitor’s back four had to be alert to danger. Danger man Richard Minor had caused the Blues problem in the reverse fixture but the manager had a plan in place to stifle his creativity, however when he was fouled on 34 minutes it almost led to the first goal as Martin Ridley’s 35-yard effort dropped just wide of Michael Langley’s left hand post. It was Minor again on 42 minutes when his drive from 25 yards saw Langley going full stretch to tip it over the bar. The second period saw Winsford playing against the wind but as so often happens their game improved as they relied on passing movements to make progress rather than the long hopeful ball. However, the hosts, who still consider themselves to be in with a good chance of promotion, posed the first threat when Nick Wellecomme should have done better with a 46th minute header. As it was that proved to be the last serious threat on Langley’s goal as the Blues took control of the midfield. A neat passing movement involving John Bluck and Dean Ennion led to the best chance of the match when Ross Kennedy found himself with only Ritchie to beat but he put his shot over the bar. From then on it was all Winsford and late efforts by Bluck and Darren Connell might have clinched it. Deep into injury time Danny Wheeler’s blast struck a defender’s foot and flashed inches wide of the post. However it was not to be and Winsford had to settle for a share of the points.
Langley; Calland, Sheppard, Webster, Duckworth; Bluck, Couch (Connell 55), Ennion, Kennedy; Madin (Thompson 71) Mason.