VICTORY at Cheadle Town ensured Formby climbed up three places to fourth in the North West Counties First Division – 10 points adrift of leaders Darwen but with a hefty eight games in hand.
Managers Jim Shirley and Kev Dally were without winger Mark Kirby who failed to recover from an injury sustained a week ago against Atherton LR so Joe Walker was handed a place in the starting line-up.
Cheadle Town kicked off and wasted no time in launching the ball forward towards striker Ben Brooks. Formby were forced to concede a corner that needed a powerful clearance by Josh Essery to relieve the pressure.
Formby’s first attack of note came in the fifth minute when a ball from Franny Smith found Emini Adegbenro free on the left wing. He took the ball in his stride, pushed it past Scott Clarke and on into the area. As he was about to shoot he was blocked by Cheadle skipper Warren Gaskin so pushed him over in frustration conceding a free kick.
Two minutes later Formby took the lead. Some neat build up play down the right found Connor Smith out wide and near the corner flag. He laid a short pass back to Joe Walker whose first time cross picked out top scorer Jason Carey unmarked and 14 yards from goal. Carey controlled the bouncing ball on his chest, took a step back and volleyed low into the corner of Stephen Piggott’s net for his 30th goal of the season.
On the half hour Formby thought they had doubled their lead. Jordan Rugg was fouled by Sam Dee, who was booked, some twenty yards from goal. The outstanding Marvin Molyneux lined up the free kick and hit a low drive that was parried low down to his right by Piggott. Jordan Rugg was first to the rebound but appeared to be shoved in the back before Joe Walker fired home from an acute angle. However the referee blew for a foul and disallowed the goal. It was hard to see what the infringement was.
Formby were dominating possession as the half drew to an end without finding the decisive final ball or clinical finish. Shots from Walker, Adegbenro and Franny Smith all failed to trouble Stephen Piggott in the Cheadle goal.
Despite leading at the break managers Shirley and Dally felt they needed to make some changes so the newly-returned Connor Belger replaced Joe Walker and Paul Speed came on for Kieron Brislen.
Formby continued their domination of possession and within two minutes of the restart had doubled their lead. Marvin Molyneux won a typically strong challenge on the right flank just on the half way line and found substitute Belger with a short pass. Belger collected the ball and knocked it to Jordan Rugg who turned, beat two defenders for pace and bore down on Stephen Piggott’s goal before drilling a low shot across goal and into the far corner of the net.
Formby’s third and decisive goal wasn’t long in coming. A poor goal kick from Piggott was collected by Belger who quickly found Rugg. He took the ball on but was tackled by a Cheadle player. However, his clearance cannoned off his own player and into space and was latched onto immediately by Adegbenro who took the ball on and placed it past Piggott for his 14th goal of the season.
With the game now won Mark Toohey replaced the tireless Connor Smith who had put in a tremendous shift. There was one more incident of note, again involving Adegbenro. Josh Essery knocked a clearance towards him in space in the Cheadle half.
He collected the ball and advanced into the penalty area, ghosting past a defender. Piggott came out to the edge of his six yard area and the two clashed just as Adegbenro shot. Piggott saved but in doing so received a knock. He was on his feet quickly enough but the referee still saw fit to caution Adegbenro.