NORTHWICH Victoria continued their pre-season campaign with a 1-1 home draw against Matlock Town on Saturday, writes Pete Tonge.

The match was well contested for about an hour then trailed off into a more typical pre-season match as both sides made substitutions.

Vics looked the stronger of the two teams in the first half, with some good interlinking play and pushing forward as often as they could.

The first moment for Vics was in the seventh minute as they won a corner which was whipped in for A Triallist to power the ball just over the bar, while another minute later, Matty Birchall was played in but his shot was comfortably held by the Matlock keeper.

It wasn't all Vics in the half though, and in the 12th minute Vics' keeper Chris Cheetham, back from injury, flew to his left to keep out a stinging shot from the Town winger.

Vics eventually took the lead in the 22nd minute as Joe Camozzi was felled in the box, and last season's top scorer Birchall slotted the resultant penalty into the back of the net.

Vics were now playing good attacking football, and Liam Martin nearly played Birchall in again with a peach of a ball whilst Harvey Whyte did excellently to beat a man then curl a shot goalwards, forcing the keeper into a good save.

Matlock started the second half with more intensity, but it was a Vics error that led to the equaliser as a poor back pass towards Cheetham was easily picked out by Jake Day, and he had no trouble slotting the ball past the onrushing Cheetham.

The next bit of action, in the 65th minute, was an ugly one as a Matlock player went in two footed on Liam Martin, which was followed by a bit of 'handbags'. The Matlock player was subbed off.

The match lost the intensity of previously, but Matlock were still trying to grab a winner as both teams made substitutions.

Youngster Aaron Biddle saved Vics in the 80th minute with an excellently timed tackle.

Camozzi had a speculative effort from 35 yards for Vics, but Vics were indebted to keeper Cheetham for maintaining level terms as he pulled off two excellent saves in the last five minutes.

All in all, a promising display by Vics, especially in the first half.

Vics' next match at home is on Tuesday, July 19, against City of Liverpool, kick-off 7.30pm.