By Chris Gibbs
Unbeaten run comes to an end
Newcastle Town 1, Avery (74)
Widnes 3, Holt (19) McGowan (45’3’) High (69)
We knew it was never going to last forever – although we might have still hoped that it would – but our unbeaten start to 2024 came to an end with a 3-1 defeat at home to Widnes yesterday.
A well drilled Widnes side, who are in a terrific run of form, were sharper in their play, clinical in front of goal and worthy victors as Neil Baker suffered defeat for the first time as the Newcastle Town manager.
And it was one of our former players who inflicted the decisive early blows that put us up against it.
James Steele, who had a successful season with us six years ago, tore down the left wing providing a cross which was only half cleared to the edge of the box inside the opening 20 minutes. Kris Holt still had plenty to do but his side foot finish gave Slinny no chance and his side the early lead.
Keeping the score to 0-1 at half time seemed to be crucial to our chances for forcing a result after the break and those hopes were dashed when Steele cut inside onto his right foot and crashed a shot against the inside of Slinny’s right hand post in the third minute of first half injury time. The rebound flashed across the face of goal and Jack McGowan did the rest to double the visitors’ lead.
Jack Sherratt, who had been struggling with flu all week was withdrawn at half time and replaced by Joe Berks and we did improve in the second half although not immediately as Steele and McGowan missed further chances to extend the visitors’ lead.
On his full debut, Jake Twyford had a shot well saved on the line by Widnes keeper Cameron Terry, but almost immediately, Widnes sub Josh High made it 3-0 from a suspiciously offside position.
With 16 minutes to go Jake Avery scored his third goal in three games with a cool finish and we finished the game dominating possession and looking threatening, but it was very much a case of too little too late as Widnes held firm.
Slinn, Derbyshire, Ritchie, T. Van der Laan, Jordan, Stubbs, Graham, Sherratt, (Berks), Avery, Jones, (Adu Gyamfi), Twyford