On Saturday 6 October, Vikings FC faced Ellesmere Port at the Stobart Stadium, and claimed their first home scalp of the current campaign.
Two notable absentees were playmaker Kyle Geraghty and number 1 stopper Kyd Kirkby from last week’s battling yet ultimately unrewarding performance, so the Vikings FC outfit were faced with an uphill task before a ball was even kicked in this clash.
The Vikings started the encounter in positive mood with a sweeping move down the right hand side causing the Ellesmere Port defence to retreat. However, the final ball from Winger Will Myers was easily blocked behind for a corner kick.
Despite creating the first opportunity of the encounter, the Vikings were again shaky at the back, allowing Ellesmere Port a couple of openings. Thankfully for the home side, captain Danny Garvey intercepted at the pivotal moment to stop the strikers from having a sniff at goal.
A piece of individual brilliance from Louis Ruddock almost gave the Vikings an 8th minute lead, but his dipping effort just bounced wide of the post, leaving Ellesmere ‘keeper Neil McIntyre grasping at thin air. It was certainly a warning for Ellesmere of the type of striking credentials the home team have in their locker.
A scrappy period then followed, with neither side managing to find that all-important final ball. But, an inventive short corner nearly provided the breakthrough for the Vikings. Unfortunately, the Ellesmere back line recovered to divert the ball away before Liam Donnelly could produce an effort at goal.
Will Myers was again creating all kinds of carnage for the Ellesmere defence as a perfect first touch helped him to recover a seemingly lost cause, but the pull-back failed to find a supporting Viking.
Deliveries from wide right appeared to be the best source of piercing the Ellesmere unit, with a delicious ball from Kev Dunning almost leading to an opportunity for the Vikings.
A speedy counter attack resulted in a half chance for the impressive Kev Dunning, but the winger eventually scuffed his shot, and the opening had been lost.
A defensive misunderstanding almost presented Louis Ruddock with something to feed off.
But the Ellesmere back line would have been even more disappointed with the opening goal of the encounter a minute later when the attacking threat of Kev Dunning was allowed acres of space to run into the area and fire beyond the helpless goalkeeper.
However, credit must also go to Dunning for producing a calm and controlled finish to give the Vikings a deserved lead based on the opening half an hour.
That goal seemingly filled the Vikings with confidence, and the front three of Myers, Ruddock and Dunning were carving through the defence like a knife through butter.
However, for all their control, the Vikings were given a warning just before half time when Ellesmere’s Stephen Cooke was put through, but a vital block deflected the ball behind for a corner kick.
Nevertheless, the Vikings went in at half time a goal to the good, and in confident mood. In all honesty, they could have been out of sight given their sheer control of the match.
As a result of their lacklustre first half performance, Ellesmere coach Danny Shopcoth sent his players back onto the i-pitch considerably earlier than the bullish Vikings outfit, fresh from their best half of the season.
The Vikings continued their dominance from the first period into the early part of the second with Will Myers skipping past the entire defence before his attempted cutback was nervously hacked clear by Ellesmere backline.
The pressure eventually told three minutes later, as an in swinging corner from the right via the left boot of Dunning caused all sorts of difficulties, allowing Will Myers to continue his fine goalscoring form by slotting the ball home from close range. It was nothing more than the home side deserved.
However, the Vikings were given a warning about becoming complacent on 55 mins when a delicious corner kick was sliced agonisingly wide from an Ellesmere perspective. It certainly displayed that despite being outclassed for the opening hour, the away side could still pose a potential threat to the Vikings backline.
In attack, Myers and Ruddock continued to cause havoc for Ellesmere Port, through their skilful link up on the right hand side, but in defence frustrations get the better of them, as they committed a string of needless fouls.
It was from one of those free kicks that the Vikings effectively put the seal on their first home win of the campaign, as Liam Donnelly finally got the goal that his performance deserved and also helped the scoreline to reflect the overall pattern of the game.
The Vikings took advantage of the sheer dominance to complete the rout with the fantastic fourth goal of the afternoon towards the end through second half sub Luke Cokeford.
The win was thoroughly deserved and the response from last week’s defeat was there for all to see.
Don’t forget; Vikings FC are in action again at the Stobart Stadium this coming Saturday when Marshalls Reserves come to town (KO – 3.00pm).