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Rochdale Town extend unbeaten run in league games to stop 1874 Northwich returning to standings' summit
NOBODY, Rochdale excepted of course, predicted this would be where 1874 Northwich’s nine-match unbeaten run on the road would end.
And, after leading twice, the visitors might wonder still now how it has.
Ian Street’s men, 3-2 up after an hour, had a return to first place in the table within their sights.
After two goals from top scorer Callum Smith, it faded into the distance again.
The leading four teams are separated by only four points, though Northwich have played more matches than their rivals.
When Stuart Wellstead scored inside two minutes, reacting quickest after Mike Brandon’s initial attempt had been parried by the hosts’ goalkeeper, 1874 appeared well set.
Rochdale’s net-minder denied Brandon, Lee Jones and Matthew Ward before the former put through his own goal with a spectacular volley to leave custodian Matt Conkie with no chance of making a save.
The hosts took the lead on 37 minutes, Kristian Evans converting after they had switched quickly from defence to attack.
Ward restored parity before the break, scoring from close range.
Brandon took his goals tally for the season to 16 within five minutes of the second half starting, establishing again an advantage, however slender, for the away team.
Smith turned around the deficit by himself, scoring either side of debutant Liam Newman’s introduction as a substitute for 1874.
The front man’s second strike, the game’s decisive one, arrived with nine minutes to play.
Rochdale, next to last in the standings before kick off, extend their unbeaten run in league games to four as a result. Three of those have yielded maximum points.
1874 Conkie (GK), Mitchell, Thomas, Duckworth, Stewart, Bailey (Newman 76), Foy, Jones, Wellstead (McKay 87), Brandon, Ward Subs not used Bowyer, Crane Goals Wellstead 2, Ward 44, Brandon 48
Referee Mike Crusham
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