Vics' defeated local rivals Witton Albion F.C 4-0 in Thursday evening's Mid-Cheshire Senior Challenge Cup Final at Wincham Park. Game-star Stuart Cook opened the scoring on 3', rounding the keeper' with ease to roll the ball into an empty net - with further goals after the half-time break by Abou Sanogo, and subs' Mike Clarke and Joshua Amis.
Thursday 23rd April 2015. COMPETITION - Mid-Cheshire Senior Challenge Cup Final 2014/15. VENUE - Wincham Park, Wincham.
LINE-UP'S - Vics' - Smith, Smalley, Grayson, Meadowcroft (C) (Clarke (C) 24'), Henry, Krou, Summerskill (Amis 79'), Roddy, Cook, Fishwick, Sanogo (caution) (Burnett 52'). Un-used subs' - Deasy (GK), Ali.
Witton - Swift (O'Carroll 87'), Garner, Capriotti, Pena, Chrisokhou, Shaw (Perry 46'), Andrews (C), Weeder, Offori, Coley (Barnes 72'), King. Un-used subs - Cunliffe, Noonan.
GOALS - Vics' - Stuart Cook 3', Abou Sanogo 51', Mike Clarke 65', Joshua Amis 86'.
Unavailable for Vics' - Richie Bennett (knee).
Vics' started the match in dominant mood - seizing the lead early on as Stuart Cook latched onto a pass on 3' just outside the box and rounded Witton keeper' Ryan Swift with ease; rolling the ball into an empty net. The green and whites then went on to dominate in the next 15 minutes; with Abou Sanogo coming to the fore - working the keeper' twice with trade-mark powerful shots, before Witton managed a riposte on 20' when Reece Coley latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the box and smashed a right-foot drive that was destined for the bottom corner; Dane Smith in Vics' goal getting a finger-tip to the ball to divert it for a corner. Vics' should have gone 2-0 in front on 37', Abou Sanogo seeing a header from 6 yards out cleared off the line by Adam Garner from Mike Roddy's corner.
PICTURED - game-star Stuart Cook rounds keeper' Ryan Swift to give Vics' an early lead.
HALF-TIME - Vics' 1-0 Witton Albion FC.
Witton came out for the second half looking for the equaliser and almost got it on 49' when Jamie Weeder skipped past the on-rushing Vics' keeper' Smith, and shot towards the empty net but the alert and ever-dependable Vics' full-back Chris Smalley was on hand to head the effort away to safety from off the goal-line. Abou Sanogo made Weeder pay for his profligacy on 51' - picking up a loose ball 25 yards out he charged through on goal and swept in a right-foot finish past Swift from 12 yards into the bottom corner. There then followed a sustained period of Vics' pressure and Vics' superiority was beginning to tell, and on 65' that pressure paid dividends when Mike Clarke stabbed in a right-foot shot from 8 yards - after his initial effort ricocheted back to him. Further chances followed on 67' and 75'; with Mike Roddy seeing his low drive sail just wide of the post and game-star Stuart Cook driving a fierce shot just over the bar. Witton were still searching for a goal to show for their efforts with Danny Andrews' snap-shot working Smith well on 82'. Vics' sub' Josh Amis completed the scoring on 86', steering a flicked header beyond Swift from the near-post into the net following a one-two between Mike Roddy and Stuart Cook; with the latter supplying the cross for Amis to head home.
PICTURED - Vics' skipper for the night; Mike Clarke - after Dan Meadowcroft went off injured; blasts Vics' into a 3-0 lead.
Vics' M.O.M - Stuart Cook. Ran the game in midfield from start to finish, a constant creative outlet and his pressing game was of the highest quality, and two assists for the goals to boot.
Manager Jim Gannon's reaction to the win that secured the MId-Cheshire Senior Challenge Cup Trophy 2014/15 -
A fairly straight-forward win, Jim. A weakened Witton side, but you can only beat what is in front of you. I felt Witton never gave in, and could have scored one or two goals at various points of the game. But a final win is always nice, and it's well deserved for all the lads' endeavours this season. Stuart Cook was the M.O.M, his form over the past month has been brilliant.
It was nice to come away with a reward for the players efforts this week. It has been a tough week for everyone, but the excitement and adrenaline of the Cup Finals has helped them get through and enjoy the two matches.
It was a shame that Witton weren't able to put out their strongest team but I felt their team competed well for most of the game. We got goals at good times in the game and the scoreline looked comfortable in the end. Apart from an injury to Danny Meadowcroft (hamstring) and some slight knocks and niggles there was a lot of good things to take from the game. Abou, Brian, and Cedric were all able to add to their match fitness and their additions to the squad will be important over the coming 2/3 games. We also looked to be able to adapt our shape and we have a number of players who can play a few positions which gives us some tactical options over this final week of football. It was also great to see another two goals from crossed set-plays and that has become an increasing strength for us.
You rightly picked out Stuart Cook for praise and he certainly epitomises the points above with his attacking ability. He is what I would regard as a 'universal' midfielder - who can play any of the midfield roles, but as an attacker he showed his scoring instincts right from the start with a well-taken opening goal. He also provided another two assists from his set-play deliveries so he deserved his praise at the end.
Another very pleasing aspect of the game was to see so many Vics' fans at the game and it was great for old and new faces to mix and enjoy a Cup Final win back in Northwich. I was also impressed with the set-up at Witton and I am sure everyone associated with Vics' is really looking forward to the team playing out of their ground next season. The return of the club to Northwich is an extremely important step for the Club and town. Hopefully if we continue our professional approach and hard work over the coming week we can be playing Witton next season with both teams in the Premier Division. That would be a great game to look forward to!
PICTURED - The Victorious Vics' team and back-room staff celebrate winning the Mid-Cheshire Senior Challenge Cup Trophy.
Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury.