Hanley race past Northwich in the relegation stakes.

A drive to the Potteries gave me the opportunity to visit Hanley Town to see them play 1874 Northwich. A bright clear drive through the Peak District had given way to a grey overcast sky with it registering 8.5 degrees on the car dash board.

Hanley’s ground is in a housing estate with other pitches to one side and parkland surrounding most of it. Cars were parked and abandoned outside the housing although there was a car park next to the ground which for some reason was locked up.

The facilities are being added to, a small seated stand on one side has been recently been extended and there is a small covered standing area to the left of one goal. The club house and café are clean and tidy with happy helpful staff.

The pitch was grass and flat but was wearing badly after our wet March. It was muddy in patches all over with the goal areas and corner flags suffering the most.

There was an original Hanley Town FC formed in 1882 but it lasted only until 1912.

The current Hanley Town FC came into existence in the Mid Sixties as a Sunday League team and soon decided to try their luck playing Saturdays. They progressed in local leagues being promoted to the Staffordshire County League and by 1976 joined the Mid Cheshire league but by 1994 after some poor seasons they went down to Junior football. They were soon back and promotions and league mergers meant they were asked to join the North West Counties League Division One, a goal that they had coveted for some time. They won that Division in 2016 and after their good performances in the reduced covid seasons, in then the Midland league, they were placed in the re-organised Northern Premier League Division One West where they play today. Quite a journey in a short time.

1874 Northwich’s history is even shorter having been started in 2012 after supporters of Northwich Victoria broke away to form a new democratically run, supporter owned club. The 1874 coming from the founding date of Northwich Victoria. They started footballing life in 2013 in the North West Counties League Division One. Despite only finishing third in their first year they were promoted to the Premier Division because of the demise of Formby. By 2018 they reached the Semi Final of the FA Vase but were defeated and only two years later went up another league with the then reorganisation to the Northern Premier League Division One West. An even quicker rise in such a short time.

Hanley Town 4 1874 Northwich 0

Potteries Park, Abbey Lane, Bucknall, ST2 8AJ Northern Premier League West Division

Saturday 1st April. 15.00 pm kick off 16th v 12th. The Blues v The Greens

Hanley, Royal Blue Shirts with thin vertical lines and royal blue shorts; 1874 Northwich Emerald green shirts with green shorts.

Hanley were off to a great start when with just 5 minutes gone their no 11 Jones made it to the by line to cut the ball back for Jack Twyford to strike it home to the left. Hanley did not slow down and continued to dominate and scored a second on 18 minutes when the Northwich centre back miss timed his interception leaving Kieran Brown to run on and curl the ball across the away teams goal keeper and into the far right hand corner of the net.

Northwich did come more into the game but by half time, which was reached with no added time , they had not had a shot on goal.

Two half time changes did inject some more positiveness for Northwich but it was Hanley who scored again when Jack Twyford stepped forward to volley the ball into the net after a goal mouth mele on 62 minutes.

It was all over when on 80 minutes Jack Marrow handled the ball on the line to stop a definite goal and was sent off. A minute later Kieran Brown made no mistake from the penalty spot for a well deserved four nil win.

From my point of view I did not see one shot on goal by Northwich all afternoon and with all three teams in the relegation spots and Hanley winning they have been sucked into a massed battle.

The chips were hot, tasty, not greasy but the centres were a bit powdery gaining a score of 65.

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