HIS side left it late to score a leveller, but Northwich Victoria manager Adam Lakeland believes they could have returned from Carlton with maximum points.

Matty Clarke netted from close range in stoppage time to rescue a point for the visitors after William Mellors-Blair looked to have given the hosts a victory.

Godwin Abadaki had hit Vics’ first goal on the stroke of half-time after they had fallen behind when Alexander Troke was on target.

Lakeland believed a point was the least his side deserved but feels they should have had all three.

“We anticipated a difficult game and that’s exactly what it proved to be,” said Lakeland.

“Having equalised twice and especially scoring a second goal so late in the game, I suppose you would have to say it’s a good point.

“However, if I’m honest, I’m disappointed not to have come home with all three.

“I think it would have been incredibly harsh on the players if we had left empty-handed.”

Vics have now scored two or more goals in 15 of their 24 games so far this season but still sit 14th in the Northern Premier League’s First Division South.

And the manager says they must improve defensively ahead of a trip to Market Drayton on Saturday.

“This group never knows when it’s beaten and the lads always keep going until the end,” he said.

“It’s frustrating though to have scored two goals in each of our past two league games and only have one point to show for it.

“Scoring twice should be enough to win a game, and that’s where we must improve going forward.”

Carlton | Steggles (GK), Campbell, Fletcher, Schoenecker, Gorman, Walker, Mellors-Blair, Elliott, Wilson, Troke (Davie 64), Gordon (Wholey 73) Subs not used Newton, Rae, Stovell Goals Troke 14, Mellors-Blair 87 Booked Walker, Elliott

Vics | Hill (GK), Nolan, Pritchard, Brewster, Fitzgerald, Regan (Olopade 40), Abadaki, Lakeland, Johnson (Hinchliffe 84), Gyimah, Clarke Sub not used Coffey Goals Abadaki 21, Clarke 90 Booked Regan

Attendance 121