WITTON could be forgiven for wanting to wait another two decades to play their old rivals in a league game.
Albion and Vics were sat at non-league’s top table last time this fixture took place, back in 1994, when more than 1,500 people watched a 1-1 draw at Wincham Park.
Monday night’s meeting, which attracted less than half of that figure, was pale in comparison.
Not that Northwich will care.
Jim Gannon’s men, after recording a fifth successive win, climbed to the Divison One North table’s summit.
Their landlords, even at this stage of the season, are already eight points further back.
If new Witton boss Scott Dundas wanted to gauge how close to top-five shape his side is – Vics lost in the play-offs semi finals last term – then he has an answer.
In short, there is work to do – lots of it.
Disruptions did not help the hosts.
The half-time whistle arrived during their best spell, when they were attempting to recover from the blow of conceding a goal in the fifth minute.
When captain Darren Chadwick limped off shortly after the interval, prompting a defensive reshuffle, they had to adjust again.
Substitute Ben Mills bundled in an equaliser on 62 minutes, though parity lasted only moments.
Vics were swift to take the lead a second time, Richie Bennett doubling his personal tally with opportunism while Albion defenders appealed in vain for offside.
He was not; Jon Dawson, seeking to recover his position after suffering a knock, was still out of place when Iain Howard slipped a pass into his teammate’s path.
With that, Witton were done.
Goalkeeper Danny Roberts prevented the margin of their defeat from being wider, blocking brilliantly with a boot when Stuart Cook drilled in his direction on 70 minutes.
Howard, in form he was unable to show while wearing a Witton shirt last term, was again provider.
Vics, as they had done in the opening period, protected their lead in relative comfort.
They had established one initially when Bennett converted a cross from Cook that was diverted his way by James Ball.
At the other end, Jon Beaumont’s attempt flashed wide.
However Northwich, with Howard allowed too much freedom, posed a greater threat.
Roberts was swift from his line to deny the midfielder after quarter of an hour, smothering bravely after Jordan Williams had conjured an opening.
Danny Andrews lifted a tame free kick over the bar for Witton, who were rescued by Chris Baker when he headed off the line after Cook’s swerving free kick was helped on.
And Andrews fluffed Albion’s best chance, lifting high with the goal at his mercy goalkeeper Dane Smith had made a mess of intercepting Gary Roberts’ centre.
Witton | 4-5-1 | Danny Roberts (GK), Gardner, Lycett, Chadwick (Dawson 53), Green, Andrews, Gary Roberts, Beaumont, Titchiner (Mills 46), Baker, Cropper (Diskin 79) Subs not used Warburton, Richard Smith Goal Mills 62 Booked Beaumont, Titchiner (both fouls)
Vics | 4-3-3 | Smith (GK), Byrne (Ali 47), Krou, Clarke, Duxbury, Cook, Ball, Roddy, Williams (Todd 85), Bennett (Amis 68), Howard Subs not used Woolfe, McCoy (GK) Goals Bennett 5, 66 Booked Duxbury (foul)
Referee Mark Duncan