1874 NORTHWICH recovered from two goals down on Tuesday night to draw a game co-manager Wayne Goodison admits they would have lost earlier this season.

It means they start the return meeting at Barton Stadium this weekend occupying a position in the North West Counties League Premier Division’s top 10.

“We finished strongly and there was a tinge of disappointment that we didn’t score again,” said Goodison.

“It felt like we had momentum with us after getting back on level terms, although most importantly we’ve kept a run going that we’re on at the moment.”

The visitors started slowly at Potteries Park and survived a scare when Michael Keates rattled the crossbar from close-range after connecting with a free-kick.

However he was less forgiving shortly afterwards after rising unchallenged at a corner to head an opening goal for Hanley.

1874 suffered a further blow when Mark Jones was forced to leave the field with a head injury after an opponent accidentally caught him with an elbow during an aerial challenge.

Kazim Waite-Jackson took his place, and captain Matthew Woolley dropped into defence.

Northwich Guardian:

Substitute Kazim Waite-Jackson attempts to weave a way through a crowded Hanley Town defence on Tuesday when 1874 Northwich recovered from 2-0 down to draw. Picture: Ian Dutton

Northwich served warning of their attacking threat midway through the first-half when Scott McGowan prompted goalkeeper Joe Mellor to save after directing Callum Gardner’s cross towards goal with a spectacular overhead kick.

However Hanley doubled their lead early in the second period when George Mealey curled a free-kick into the corner, and out of custodian Dane Rigby’s reach, from outside the penalty area.

1874 reacted quickly though, and Taylor Kennerley’s set-piece took a decisive deflection off a defender to halve their arrears.

They assumed control, an drew level on 78 minutes through McGowan.

Gardner’s strike from distance was too high, and the visitors were grateful to Rigby for a fine intervention to prevent Keates from scoring a decisive goal for the home team.

An appeal for a penalty when Sam Hare went down was rejected by referee Reece Davies before Paul Connor’s volley was diverted to safety by Mellor with time running out.

Goodison added: “We conceded two poor goals and were the cause of our own undoing.

“However that gave Hanley something to hang on to and they played with a bit of spirit after taking the lead.

“We can be reasonably happy though given the circumstances and losing Mark Jones early on forced us to reshuffle.

“I felt that we handled that, and created opportunities still.”

1874 | Rigby (GK), Tucker (Russell 66), Connor, Pritchard, Jones (Waite-Jackson 16), Weir, Gardner, Matthew Woolley, McGowan, Hare, Kennerley Subs not used Preston, Carney Goals Kennerley 67, McGowan 78 Booked Weir, Connor (both fouls)

Referee Reece Davies

Attendance 182