MATCH REPORT | Widnes 4-0 West
Saturday 28th April 2018, NWCFL Premier Division
Widnes 4 (Hodkinson pen 2, C. Lomax 28, 77, Pollard 58)
West slumped to defeat in their final away game of the season on a forgettable afternoon in Widnes.
The promotion-chasing home side were in control from the moment Ben Hodkinson dispatched a contested penalty inside 120 seconds, and Christopher Lomax and Kevin Pollard added further goals to complete a straightforward win.
The visitors’ task looked insurmountable from the outset, with a raft of injuries forcing outfield player Jordan Poole to don the gloves. Poole didn’t disgrace himself and produced a handful of saves to keep the score down, but West struggled with Widnes’ inventive forward line as well as the Halton Stadium’s lively artificial surface.
Widnes, who knew they were virtually guaranteed promotion if they won their final four games, took the lead immediately – Olapade appeared to bundle Hodkinson over just outside the area, but the referee pointed to the spot and Hodkinson picked himself up to sweep his penalty beyond Poole.
The visitors searched for a foothold but chances were at a premium against a side who had kept six clean sheets in their previous eight games. Ben Steer fired wide from outside the box, and when Tom Bailey robbed a Widnes defender inside the left channel, Ash Woods couldn’t make clean contact with the resulting cross.
Widnes were more clinical when they doubled their lead just before the half hour – an extended period of home side possession ended when Jay Roberts pulled the ball back from the right and Lomax arrived to crash home via the crossbar.
There was a sense of inevitability about the second period as the home side coasted to victory. West should have pulled a goal back when Woods got to the byline, but he could only cross between the waiting Bailey and Steer. Moments later Widnes had a third when Hodkinson chested down a long pass into the path of Lomax, whose half-volley crept past Poole’s right hand.
Lomax claimed a second and rounded off the home side’s afternoon with 13 minutes remaining, firing high past Poole from the edge of the area. Widnes moved clear of Runcorn Town in the promotion race after their neighbours lost at Ashton Athletic, but for West there was little noteworthy about this sleepy end-of-season affair.
West: Poole, Reader, Eiselt, Olapade, Middleton, Sergeant (Rogers 63), Steer, Shaw (Whyment 59), Bailey, Woods, Mason (Dickenson 63). Not used: Eckersley.