match date: Sat 4th May
posted by: W Dodd - Wednesday 8th May, 2013
Mills strike signs Irlam off with a win
IRLAM FC ended a tough season in NWCFL Div One with a win on the final day of their season, a 2-1 defeat of Chadderton FC, a goal apiece from Jordan Icely and skipper Steve Mills securing the points on the day.
Despite the win, early season form meant that the Silver St Club remained in 14th position in the division, their lowest position for some seasons.
Irlam certainly showed signs of things to come on the day, manager Steve Nixon placing his trust in a number of younger players at the Club, a decision that proved correct against a resilient Chadderton side.
First chance fell to the visitors, Ben Fletcher firing over the bar in the opening minutes, followed soon after by Irlam’s Scott Mason, whose free kick found Icely, the Irlam no10 firing into the arms of Latham in the Chadderton goal.
Icely was again on hand soon after, this time a low driven free kick just wide of the Chadderton goal as the game remained goalless.
The visitors found themselves penned in their own half at times; a corner into the area from Irlam’s Ben Christopher was hastily cleared away as Chadderton looked to keep their concentration.
The first real chance of the day fell to Irlam forward Christian Lawlor when a Scott Mason free kick found its target, the ball in seeming to surprise Lawlor as it ran away and out of play. Lawlor and Mason teamed up again minutes later, Lawlor bundled to the ground for a free kick as Mason put in another excellent ball, Chadderton still held clear though as they cleared away.
As the half drew to a close, Irlam should have been a goal up as midfielder Dean Burgess found himself unmarked in the Chadderton penalty area, the ball bobbling around him as defenders closed in and , cleared the ball away to safety, keeping the game goalless as the first half came to an end.
First action of the 2nd period again saw Irlam on the attack, Icely’s cross in from the left finding Irlam’s Adam Campbell who timed his run perfectly, only for the ball to bobble up at the last minute as the shot went over the bar from close range as the Silver St side pushed for the opener.
The opener in the game came soon enough, a corner awarded to Chadderton at the opposite end saw McCauley Harewood make full use of the space given to him in the Irlam area, a neat header past Brewer in the Irlam goal against the run of play summed up Irlam’s season defending from set pieces.
An immediate response was required from Irlam, and Icely was on hand to provide it just 2 minutes later, the young Irlam forward pushing down the left wing before cutting inside his defender and striking possibly the goal of the season past Latham in the Chadderton goal to draw the score level.
Irlam no7 Mason was also having the lion’s share of possession, another perfect cross into the box resolutely defended by Chadderton, followed up by a low drive into the side netting as Irlam looked to get ahead in the fixture.
With Haggis and Burgess piling on the pressure in the Irlam midfield, the visitors were struggling to get a foothold in the game, and as the pressure grew the breakthrough finally came for the home side.
The award of a free kick, floated into the Chadderton area found Campbell, the Irlam forward whose shot cannoned into the oncoming keeper Latham only for the rebound to drop to Irlam captain Steve Mills, who struck a superb half volley into the goal to break the visitors hearts.
With just minutes remaining, man of the match Icely was keen to double his tally, a chip over the keeper requiring a fingertip save to prevent the lead being extending, and on the final whistle Icely again fired goalwards, this time snatching at his shot as the ball sailed over the bar, bringing the end to Irlam’s season.
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