NEW manager Gary Moran could not inspire a change in fortune for struggling Rugby Town as improving Northwich Victoria recorded a third successive league win.

They climb into the table’s top half as a result.

Dan Cockerline put them ahead on 15 minutes, steering an assured finish past goalkeeper Louis Connor from Simon Lakeland’s pass.

Yaw Gyimah shot wildly after making room for himself, while Cockerline was denied a second goal by a linesman’s flag after converting Matthew Clarke’s cross from the left.

Connor helped John Pritchard’s cross onto the woodwork before the break, while David Kolodynski’s attempt at the other end was off-target after the hosts made a rare foray forward.

Vics goalkeeper Mason Springthorpe was alert to push Kolodynski’s header to safety early in the second period, while Lakeland’s drive from distance flashed wide.

Cockerline ought to have done better when well-placed on the hour, shooting straight at Connor from Jamie Hinchliffe’s assist.

The visitors, who had brushed aside struggling Kidsgrove in midweek, then made sure of maximum points when substitute Kieran Nolan’s volley crept past Connor after Hinchliffe had been alert to intercept defender Aaron Stringfellow’s header.

“We deserved the three points,” said manager Adam Lakeland.

“Defensively we were well-organised and were rarely troubled, while in attack we always posed a threat.”

His side turn their attention next to an FA Trophy preliminary round encounter with Mossley on Sunday, kick off 3pm.

Rugby | Connor (GK), Stringfellow, Bukasa, Fitter, Appleton (Fishwick 77), Palmer, Brain, O'Callaghan (Boitos 64), Kolodynski, Moses-Garvey, Woolley Subs not used Gomes, Walker Booked Bukasa

Vics | Springthorpe (GK), Olopade, Fitzgerald, Regan, Pritchard, Brewster, Simon Lakeland, Hinchliffe, Gyimah (Edwards 45), Cockerline, Clarke (Nolan 80) Subs not used Hill (GK), Mudimu Goals Cockerline 15, Nolan 89

Referee Matthew Law

Attendance 162