THIS was not the free-flowing version of 1874 Northwich that had dispatched Northwich Victoria from the FA Cup in midweek.

But a victory secured by Adam Whitlock’s wind-assisted corner sneaking past Burscough goalkeeper Louis McCarthy and into the net will have been no less satisfying.

It means the visitors protect a 100 per cent record on the opening day of a North West Counties League season since they were promoted to the top-flight in 2014.

They almost crept in front inside the opening minute, only for Kazim Waite-Jackson’s corner to skim the crossbar after deflecting of an 1874 player’s back.

Sam Hind’s shot was blocked after Taylor Kennerley had combined with Lee Jackson on the left, while at the other end Danny Meadowcroft smuggled clear after Jake Connolly lifted the ball over custodian Greg Hall.

McCarthy was equal to a Scott McGowan effort from Jack Lever’s centre, and he was in the right place too when Whitlock fired through a crowd from a free-kick.

The Linnets’ number one reacted instinctively to keep out Whitlock’s close-range attempt from Jackson’s assist, a feat matched by Hall to prevent Christy Devlin from scoring at the other end.

The game’s decisive moment followed on 63 minutes when Whitlock’s floated set-piece crept in with McCarthy unable to intervene.

Burscough struggled to create an opening from which they might equalize, and instead were grateful to McCarthy for again thwarting McGowan.

The hosts reached 90 minutes with nine men after Adam Gilchrist and Hafeez Hamzat succumbed to injuries after all of their allotted substitutes had already been used.

McGowan’s final glimpse of goal ended with him deflecting another Jackson cross from the left off-target after an awkward bounce took him by surprise.

Burscough | McCarthy (GK), Cheetham, O’Brien, Szanto, Hamzat, Hulme, Connolly (Cummings 75), Devlin, Gilchrist, Henerty (Diggle 63), Clark (Threkeld 61) Subs not used Hatton, Conaghan (GK)

1874 | Hall (GK), Lever, Lee Jackson, Pritchard, Meadowcroft, Waite-Jackson (Riley 55), Whitlock, Matthew Woolley, McGowan, Hind, Kennerley Subs not used Clayton, Woods, Beadle, Spencer (GK) Goal Whitlock 63

Referee Ian Walsh

Attendance 175

Match report by Garry Clarke