Pete Tonge gives his verdict on Northwich Victoria's 1-1 draw at Squires Gate...

VICS had a setback even before the start as Brandon Barski was injured during warm-up and new signing Zach Butterworth was brought into the starting 11 at right back, with Roman Allen moving across to partner Rudy Misambo in the centre.

Gate nearly got off to a flying start as a second minute free kick from Pollard was nearly bundled into the net by Dean Ing.

However it was Vics who then threatened as Winder floated in a free kick and Carl Grimshaw headed straight at ex-Vics stopper Mike Hale.

Two minutes later, Brad Lynch received the ball down the left, turned his man twice before getting to the by-line and dinking a lovely ball in which Grimshaw powered a header past the hapless Hale into the net to give Vics an early lead.

Instead of pushing on again, Vics sat back and it was all Squires Gate for the rest of the half.

Chris Cheetham was forced into a save as he tipped over a header from Bartram in the 13th minute, and the same player then did well defensively as he got a crucial deflection on an Ash Dunn shot as he forged forwards in a rare Vics foray upfield.

Gate then had a couple of efforts from free-kicks just outside the area, the first fired into the wall whilst the second fired wide of the post. Gate earned a series of corners next, but to no effect.

In the 33rd minute Josh Pollard did well before firing in a shot which Cheetham in the Vics' net did well to save.

Squires Gate finally got the equaliser they deserved in the last minute of the half as a cross from Ridings bobbled around in the Vics' box before falling for Feeney to fire past Cheetham. Not the first time this season that Vics have conceded just before the break !

Gate started the second half on top again, and in the 51st minute, a curling shot went just wide. They went even closer five minutes later as Josh Pollard crossed the ball for Bartram to run onto and crash a shot from close range onto the bar. He really should have scored.

Vics were slowly getting back into the match now with more purpose and in the 62nd minute Grimshaw won a header back across the box to Lynch whose volleyed shot was straight at Hale.

Another Pollard cross for Gate fell to Ridings whose shot was blocked and the rebound fired over the bar.

The match was fairly even now, and in the 70th minute, a quick break by Luke Sephton down the right led to a crossed ball to Lynch who turned well but his shot was well saved low down by Hale.

Five minutes later, a Birchall flick sent Grimshaw through on goal who held off his man well but his shot was wide.

In the 83rd minute, a Gourley header was inches wide when well placed.

Gate were reduced to 10 men for the final few minutes as Bartram was deservedly sent off for a high tackle.

A minute later, a Vics corner was headed inches over the bar by Grimshaw and the same player was just inches from poking a Brad Lynch low cross into the net a couple of minutes later. So close to snatching a late winner.

Match facts:

Squires Gate 1 Northwich Vics 1

North West Counties Premier Division

Saturday 30th October 2021.

Vics - Cheetham, Butterworth, Misambo, Allen, Clarke, Dunn, Winder R (Mather 85’), Lynch, Sephton, Birchall, Grimshaw. Unused subs: Whyte.

Goals - Squires Gate: Feeney 44mins. Vics: Grimshaw 7mins

Bookings - Clarke

NEXT GAMES: Vics are away to Burscough on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm, and then host Ashton Athletic on Saturday, kick-off 3pm