Lee Duckworth, assistant manager at 1874 Northwich, says his side are not phased by playing catch-up

Northwich Guardian: 1874 Northwich assistant manager Lee Duckworth 1874 Northwich assistant manager Lee Duckworth

LEE Duckworth insists that 1874 Northwich prefer to chase, and not lead, in a race for promotion to the North West Counties League top tier.

His side, third in the Division One table, kick off tonight’s game at Darwen four points adrift of second spot.

Current incumbents Formby host fifth-placed Hanley, contenders themselves to go up, at the same time.

“We’re happy playing catch-up,” said Duckworth, assistant to boss Ian Street.

“I know lots of managers go on about having points in the bag, but we feel differently.

"The teams above us have been there for such a long time now, so they have to deal with the pressure of everybody else expecting them to finish the job of being promoted.

“That leaves us to just get on with what we’ve been doing, which is to keep picking up points as we quietly go along.”

1874 Northwich followed a single-goal success at Atherton Collieries with a similarly slender, and no less hard-fought, victory at home to back-markers Flixton Villa last Tuesday.

Danny Thomas’ was the game’s decisive touch in the final quarter of an hour.

Duckworth said: “There were a lot of tired legs on the pitch and they wanted to beat us, so raised their game.

“Ian said to us at half time that we needed to find a way to win even though we were below our best. Luckily Danny was in the right place to help us do exactly that.

“I think it’s a game we wouldn’t have won a few months ago. Back then we’d have panicked if things weren’t going our way, so to get over the line the way we did is a sign of the progress we’ve made.”

He hailed too the parts played by Thomas, Matthew Woolley and Connor Tagoe who covered the absence of more familiar faces in defence.

“They did themselves a lot of credit,” he added.

“It’s proof that the squad is more important than the 11 names on the teamsheet at the start of the game. They came in and did their job with no fuss. We’ll likely need more of that before the season ends.”

1874 play the return match at home to Atherton Collieries this weekend before visiting Hanley next Tuesday.

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