ANOTHER step forward for Northwich.

After beating the league leaders seven days earlier, they have now recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

Manchester, victors in both meetings between the teams last term, made them earn it though.

Indeed the hosts took the lead almost immediately after stealing the ball at a breakdown and launching a counter that ended with a try in the corner.

A penalty-kick on 12 minutes made it 8-0.

Blacks responded, and prop Joe Maddocks forced his way over the line following a series of drives launched after an attacking lineout.

Buoyed, Sam Naylor charged forward from the restart.

The ball was moved between the hands of Nick Baldwin, Joel Barber and Matthew Poste before the captain’s neat inside pass invited wing-man Bud Skinkis to coast to the whitewash.

Baldwin’s conversion attempt was successful.

However ill-discipline halted the visitors’ momentum and they fell behind again after Manchester slotted a pair of penalties.

Another infringement led by Chris Dale being sent to the sin-bin before the break and Northwich were made to pay when they conceded a try, leaving them 19-12 adrift at the interval.

The pattern, at least initially, didn’t change early in the second-half when the hosts dotted down again.

Blacks weren’t deterred, and Matt Ensor claimed their third try of the contest after a forwards-led move close to the Manchester line.

Skinkis doubled his personal tally, and with it secured a bonus-point, shortly afterwards.

Baldwin landed the conversion on both occasions.

Martin Poste’s men continued to apply pressure and earned a further reward when Chris Dale added his name to a list of try-scorers.

Baldwin’s extras made it 33-24 before another penalty-kick for Manchester closed a gap on the scoreboard with 10 minutes left.

Northwich nerves jangled when they notched another try, although a conversion didn’t follow.

It proved a crucial miss.

Northwich | Maddocks, Gough, Ridgway, Heywood, Ensor, Lindsay, Naylor, Chris Dale, Poste, Baldwin, Du Randt, Richard Dale, Underhill, Skinkis, Barber Replacements Houghton, James, Bennett Tries Maddocks, Skinkis (2), Ensor, Chris Dale Cons Baldwin (4)

Additional reporting by Steve Wood