Widnes continue to enjoy winning feeling as they get one over rivals

Widnes forward John McGrath scores the winner against Prescot Cables

Widnes manager Dave Dempsey has expressed his delight after his side continued their winning form and picking up their fifth straight clean sheet.

The course of the week saw the Whites progress in the FA Trophy and overcome nearest rivals Prescot Cables thanks to John McGrath.

McGrath continues to flourish under Dempsey and was vital in their back-to-back wins, grabbing a brace in the Trophy trip and the winning goal against Cables.

Widnes are slowly creeping up the table and continue to pick up three points as they shut out the opposition defence.

“I think a lot of our good work that we’ve been putting in on the training ground clicked on Saturday, we were really dangerous, it could’ve been a lot more than two, had really good opportunities to get more.

“The goals have come at a crucial time, John Mc [McGrath] has just stepped up and his first goal he took really well jinks through a tackle and put it through the defender’s legs at the near post then the second goal was just magic, a typical John Mc goal which I’m learning very quickly.

“He’s been tremendous for us, not just his football but the way he’s settled into the group, he’s becoming a vital asset.”

Tuesday saw the rescheduled clash against Cables, after the initial floodlight failure saw the match postponed. The clash had extra spice with the White’s contingents links to the Bulls.

James McCulloch was idolised previously in those parts and helped get one over on his former club with the help of his partner Michael Burke and shot-stopper Owen Wheeler.

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Dempsey is no stranger to derby matches and found joy in McGrath capitalising on the Cables mistake scoring what proved to be the winner.

“They’re a football club that I’ve got a real affiliation to, a couple of my players have too, obviously with them being close to us, derby games are always good ones.

“I remember playing at Prescot, Cammell Lairds had an affiliation with Tony Sullivan and that was the sort of game where the fans had the bit between their teeth, now it seems to be Widnes.

“Tuesday night was a game we wanted to win, climb up the ladder. It was probably the most winnable game we’ve had this season in terms of league position and their form, I know the quality in the squad wasn’t as good as we’ve got.

“I thought the first 45 was kick and chase from both teams, bit of a hostile environment, we had that discussion with the fans and they made it a really difficult game for us, worked hard, tightened up the areas we tried to play and they had chances too.

“The game plan worked, we could’ve had more than one. Then John Mc, the balls popped out of Seydou’s [Bamba] control and John Mc’s capitalised, cut in and dinked it over the ‘keeper from 18 yards out. 

“The defensive side wasn’t a problem because we wasn’t focusing on it because we wasn’t scoring goals. When I come in, we scored three in seven, I think that’s where Widnes were at when I came in. They were conceding one’s, two’s, three against Trafford which was the worst leak of the season but then we’ve not conceded in five games, we’ve conceded one in seven.

“I don’t put a lot of it down to me, in fact I don’t put any of it on me because I pick a side and ask the lads to go out on the pitch, for me it’s the players that are doing it, keeping clean sheets, jumping in front of shots, riding tackles and making sure they pick second balls up.

“It’s Steeley [James Steele] up front, it’s my wingers grafting, midfield three locking on not allowing space to play behind and through us, then it’s my centre-half’s and full-backs being robust and wanting to keep a clean sheet. The biggest shout out for me is the central three, Mike Burke, Kirky [James McCulloch] and Owen Wheeler, they’ve give us the platform for everyone to want it as much as them, they’ve been absolutely outstanding.

“It’s been like building a brickwall and going ‘come and knock it down’, it’s not pretty at times but the whole team looks so strong, out of possession, it’s an absolutely pleasure.”

Saturday sees the visit of Leek Town who are sitting relatively pretty higher up the table but have found lot of their points have come away from home.

A win could see them rise to as high as 12th but Dempsey remains fearless going into the match.

“Where we’re at we’ll play anyone in the league, if we win, we win, if we don’t, we don’t. I think that’s dangerous in itself, we’re not getting too high when we’re winning games and we haven’t been at the place where we need to get too low yet.

“When we lose it’s not the end of the world, we will be a different kettle of fish to other sides Leek have played, we’ll be hard to beat.

“They’re not coming to Widnes and Widnes aren’t going to roll over and die, it’s going to be a tough game but it’s a game we’ll be prepared for and one we’ll be going to win, nothings going to change our end. We’ll see what happens Saturday, they are a good side, they’ve got a few good players in the ranks.

“We just need to concentrate on ourselves going forward, forget who we’re playing, forget about other teams and if we do our bit right and our ways of playing work and the defensive shape right we’ll be a hard side to beat for anyone.”

[Featured image: 617 Photography]