Motors cruise to victory in first pre-season friendly

Vauxhall Motors 5 Widnes 2
Pre-season friendly
Saturday 2nd July 2022
VanEupen Arena

Report by Ethan Hoijord

Sponsored by Baltic Apprenticeships

Vauxhall Motors started their pre-season with a brilliant 5-2 victory at home to Widnes, on a sunny afternoon in Ellesmere Port that saw minutes for a few academy players and trialists.

The first half started with great tempo from the Motors as it was made evident that they were the stronger team on the day. Mick McGraa’s men got in behind the high Widnes backline to force a save from the visiting keeper, a corner being the result.

There were four goals scored in the opening forty-five minutes by the hosts, they would get their first from that corner as Aaron Dawson found himself unmarked in the box. His strike sailed into the bottom right corner and there was no chance of a save being made this time.

It would be wrong to say that the visitors didn’t pose a threat in the opening stages too as their attacker skilfully got in behind the Motors defence in the box, the eventual shot hitting the crossbar.

There were plenty of challenges put in throughout the course of the game. However, the greatest shout for a penalty came from McGraa’s side as the man with eyes for goal seemed to be tripped up just inside the box.

These shouts were turned away, yet it wouldn’t take too long before the lead was doubled. Michael Burkey with the second of the afternoon as he pounced on a poor pass made near the Widnes box.

The goals kept coming as Haydn Cooper had plenty of time and space just outside the area, he dipped the ball perfectly into the top left corner before Ben Holmes added the fourth from a similar position. Holmes’ shot sailed into the net of the keeper’s right hand side.

The whistle blew to bring an end to a really energetic half with Motors four-nil up, Widnes had the last attacking opportunity for a goal before this as a powerful shot struck the post.

At the break, five subs were made as McGraa looked to maintain a lead that was fully deserved. Two academy players would come on for their opportunities as well as a trialist, who replaced a fellow trialist.

The visitors would manage to bring back two goals in the opening stages of the second half. Vauxhall’s defence thought the ball had gone out for a goal-kick yet play continued and Widnes scored with a powerful shot into the centre of the net.

Another was scored by The Dragons when Lucas Allen mistakenly let the ball slip through his legs, the shot coming from just outside the area.

Arguably the moment of the game, however, was when manager McGraa’s son Mitchell McGraa skilfully took a few defenders out in the box with his feet and stroked the ball against the post before it creeped in. It will be great to see, this season, how the young man’s game will develop with his dad as manager.

There were fewer talking points in the second half as the game’s tempo slowed. This, in no doubt, was because of the scoreline at half time. It was a fantastic way to start pre-season action for the hosts.

Vauxhall Motors are next in action on Tuesday night as they face Ashton Town in another pre-season friendly at The VanEupen Arena.

Vauxhall Motors starting line-up: Damien Eastham, Ethan Gouldbourne, Joe Heath, Simon Thelwell, Thomas Mitchell, Aaron Dawson, Jamie Eaton, Haydn Cooper, Harvey Sample, Ben Holmes, Michael Burkey.

Vauxhall Motors substitutions, all made at half time: Lucas Allen on for Damien Eastham (GK), Marcus James on for Tom Mitchell , Zak Catesby on for Simon Thelwell, Sean Moscrop on for Haydn Cooper, Trialist A on for Aaron Dawson, Mitchell McGraa on for Jamie Eaton.