By Christopher Sweetman
Click here for Castle Manager, Robin Van der Laan's, reaction to our 2-0 defeat to Northwich 1874.
Newcastle Town were undone by two quick goals, as they slumped to a chastening 2-0 defeat to 1874 Northwich at Townfield Lane.
Newcastle went into the game knowing that a win would lift them ahead of their hosts in the table.
Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalise on the opportunity as first half goals for Fenton Green and Joe Woolley gave Northwich a formidable advantage.
Newcastle pushed hard to reduce the arrears, with Nathan Morley going close twice at the end of the first half.
However, they could not penetrate the Northwich defence, as the hosts controlled a fractious second half, with Matthew Woolley’s missed penalty proving irrelevant to the final result.
Newcastle had the better openings in a frantic start to the game, with Mikey Conlon and Ryan Baxter both putting early chances wide.
However, Northwich were also looking dangerous – especially on the break – and proved it as Harry Bower broke on the right, before squaring into the box for Green to tap home.
Newcastle almost had an immediate response, as a scramble off a Kyle Stubbs throw gave Oliver Ritchie a shot, which just failed to squeeze across the line.
Minutes later, Northwich broke down their right again, before Joe Woolley ran right across the top of the Newcastle box, before firing past Newcastle keeper Joe Slinn.
Now two goals down, Newcastle were facing a mountain to get back into the game.
They did think they had a shout for a penalty, as Baxter was brought down by home keeper Nosakhare Aghayere, but the Newcastle striker was offside.
Most of the rest of the first half proved frustrating for Newcastle, as their hunt for the goal to get them back in the game was stymied by poor decision making, inaccuracy and needless fouls.
However, as the first half entered injury time, Newcastle saw two excellent chances fall to Morley.
The first came after some good one touch passing, leading to Morley volleying just wide, before he fired his next straight at Aghayere, who just held on to it.
But, despite their positive end to the half, Newcastle found themselves going into the break without a goal.
Newcastle began the second half as they ended the first, with a dominant early spell of pressure.
However, the visitors could not convert that pressure into any telling chances, although Baxter did force a smart save from Aghayere.
From the resulting corner, Northwich nearly added a third, as Bower broke and ran almost the full length of the pitch, before Newcastle scrambled to dispossess him in the box.
Minutes later, the hosts broke again, but this time Joe Woolley dragged his shot wide.
At this stage, Newcastle were struggling to find any sort of rhythm in possession, with Northwich frequently finding ball to counterattack.
Just after the hour mark, the hosts had the ball in the net for a third time, but the whistle had already gone for a Newcastle freekick, after a high boot on Conlon.
Northwich were in the ascendancy at this point, and earned a penalty for handball moments later, but Matthew Woolley blazed his spot kick over the bar.
The rest of the half fell into a frustrating pattern for Newcastle, as they were frequently able to earn promising set piece positions, but could not capitalise on those positions.
Instead, they more often found themselves scrambling back to defend a Northwich counterattack, with Slinn to thank for preventing Bower and Jack Irlam from extending the home lead.
However, those saves did nothing to shake Northwich’s control, as the hosts saw out a deserved victory.
Newcastle next travel to Runcorn Linnets on Saturday, and following the postponement of the home game against Macclesfield, then travel to Bootle the following week.