NORTHWICH Victoria missed a chance to close the gap to the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division summit after they were held at Stafford Rangers on Tuesday.

They led after four minutes at Marston Road, Tom Field scoring from the rebound after his penalty had been parried by Boro goalkeeper Adam Alcock.

Karl Espley had fouled ex-Stafford striker Chris Budrys to concede the spot kick.

The hosts restored parity on the half hour when Chris Morris teed up former Witton Albion midfielder Peter Heler, who cut inside to shoot past Ben Hinchliffe via a slight deflection off David Fitzpatrick.

While far from their fluid best, Vics still created the game’s best chances only to be denied by Alcock.

He smothered Tom Smyth’s shot in the first half when the stopper seemed certain to double the visitors’ lead, later diverting Nathan Woolfe’s volley to safety from Ryan Wade’s cross.

Alcock was at full stretch to parry another Smyth effort at the start of the second half, while at the other end Hinchliffe clawed out Morris’ goalbound header from Kevin Street’s assist.

A draw leaves Northwich, watched by new management team member Martin Foyle for the first time, eight points adrift of leaders Chester.