By John Clothier

Widnes 0 Tadcaster Albion 1

VISITING the magnificent Halton Stadium makes quite a change from usual non-league venues.

The 13,500 all-seater stadium, with an all-weather synthetic pitch, is the home to Widnes Vikings Rugby club, and shared with Saturday’s opposition.

Tadcaster gave a debut to Adam Porritt, signed from Garforth Town during the week, to fill the right back position vacated by John Lufudu, who has joined Ashton United.

The Brewers were soon threatening with Lebrun Mbeka’s long throws causing some early pressure but on six minutes Widnes broke away only to be met with a defiant Alex Wiles who calmly intercepted the run and passed backed to Michael Ingham and safety.

Donald Chimalilo crossed back to Mbeka and although his miss-hit effort was cleared it fell invitingly for Alfie Beestin who just cleared the bar with a thundering 18 yarder. Chimalilo had a one on one with Owen Wheeler but the keeper held his ground.

At this stage Tadcaster had the upper hand but although they had created several chances, had not overly troubled Wheeler. The Whites first real attempt on goal came on the half hour mark but the influential Roberts headed wide.

However, everything changed on 32 minutes when Jack Walters pounded down the left flank and when a pass back saw the unfortunate Joe Herbert stumble on the ball, it allowed the Brewer’s full back to cross from the by line to the waiting Jake Day who side footed home from point blank range.

Both Wiles and Will Annan tested Wheeler but to no avail whilst Michael Ingham was in commanding form as he plucked Robert’s corner from the air in a crowded box. Porritt, on his knees, was fortunate that his back header went for a corner just the “right” side of the post. Ingham was tested again on 40 minutes when a pinpoint corner was taken at the second attempt as Widnes pressurised the six-yard box.

Brazel tried an audacious 35-yard poke but with five minutes to the interval, Tadcaster again had Ingham to thank as he tipped a goal-bound 25-yarder from Captain Sam Sheen over the bar.

Tadcaster deserved their lead at the break but Widnes were certainly back in the thick of things after a slightly slow start.

A reinvigorated Widnes had the first chance after the restart when Ready teed up Hodkinson but the dipping volley was wide, whilst on 51 minutes Roberts drilled a shot over the cross bar from close range. Day held off Shaw as he headed Andy Milne’s long ball back to Alfie Beestin but the shot was wide.

On 54 minutes Widnes had their best chance to equalise when Ingham could not hold Shaun Holden’s cross – Brazel was on hand to flick the ball to Hodkinson but he cleared the bar from close range. A cross on 57 minutes into Taddy’s six-yard area skimmed off Milne’s head but that was enough with Ready otherwise ready to nod it into the net.

Kevin Santos replaced Will Annan on the hour mark. Ingham was equal to efforts from Ready and Hajdari whilst Ioan Evans kept his team in front with a heroic block some 12 yards out – the rasping shot straight into his stomach from close range .

Credit to the home side who were piling forwards in waves. Chimalilo was booked on 75 minutes for supposed diving. Sheen put a defence splitting cross into the box but the ever-alert Walters cleared the danger. Curtis Woodhouse decided it was time to bolster the midfield and on came Jake Rose for Mbeka - the Brewers were back in business.

With ten minutes left on the clock, Taddy came close to putting the game to bed; Chimalilo and Beestin combined well but as Alfie ran at the Whites defence he was met by the immoveable Danny Shaw and needed the physio’s help before he could continue. Alex Wiles stepped up to take the free kick from 25 yards, bent the ball around the wall only to see it agonisingly rebound off the near post.

The single goal, however, was enough for the visitors to depart with all three points.

Curtis Woodhouse summed it up: “The lads were superb again. Dug in to get a fantastic 1-0 win. I’m very fortunate to have a group of men that do things you can’t coach or manager. It comes from within - nuts and guts.

"With this group of lads. I don’t mind who we are playing – I’ll back us every single time!”

The victory sees The Brewers back into second place in the Northern Premier North West Division. They are five points behind league leaders Workington but with four games in hand and on the same points as Prescot (19) but with three games in hand over the Liverpool outfit.

On Tuesday Taddy take on City of Liverpool in the FA Trophy replay. Kick off at the Global Stadium is at 7.45pm. If the Brewers win that then next Saturday they are at home to Brighouse Town in the next round of the Cup but otherwise will play Widnes again in the league but this time at home. Kick off on Saturday is 3pm

Ingham, Porritt, Walters, Wiles, Evans, Milne, Chimalilo, Mbeka (Rose), Day, Beestin, Annan (Santos). Subs not used ; Burn, Pattinson, Olaosun.

Attendance: 104