STEVE Wilkes admitted that Northwich Victoria were not at their best before hailing how they still found a way to beat Litherland REMYCA on Wednesday.

Andrew Fitzgerald’s close-range header, from Joel Brownhill’s free-kick, settled the outcome in Vics’ favour.

They were grateful as well to goalkeeper Danny Taberner after he produced a moment of brilliance with three minutes left, tipping George Donnelly’s goal-bound shot onto the inside of an upright with his fingertips.

“Litherland might feel aggrieved but other than that they didn’t open us up,” said Wilkes afterwards.

“We know we didn’t play well, but the boys deserve credit for how they dug in and ground out a result.”

The visitors started with more purpose and Dylan Scott, unmarked and able to pick his spot, angled an attempt narrowly wide during the early exchanges.

Impressive front-runner Warren Jevons was unlucky to see a rasping shot deflect off-target after he conjured an opening for himself.

Vics’ first attempt on goal was from the boot of Darrhyl Mason, making his first start in the absence of injured Rob Doran, but his effort cleared the crossbar.

The hosts took the lead two minutes after the interval when Brownhill redirected Harvey Whyte’s pass from the left high into the net with power – his 12th goal of the campaign.

Litherland responded though and deservedly drew level six minutes later when Donnelly teed up Jevons and he steered a perfectly-placed shot into the far corner.
And they might have edged in front on 66 minutes only for Jack Riley, left unattended from a corner, sent a free header over the bar.
Jevons turned provider for Donnelly, but his volley didn’t call Taberner into action.

Vics rallied and Dom Craig, switched to full-back following Joe Camozzi’s withdrawal, swung in a cross that debutant Jordan Darr prodded wide at the far post.

Fitzgerald was more accurate from Brownhill’s cross, and his second goal in as many matches proved decisive for his side.

Vics | Taberner (GK), Camozzi (Whittle 46), Muir, Barski, Fitzgerald, Craig, Whyte, Cooke, Matthews, Brownhill, Mason (Darr 72) Sub not used Pilgrim Goals Brownhill 47, Fitzgerald 80

Litherland | Walker (GK), Connor, Shield, Crist, Riley, Cato, Clements, Scott (Myers 68), Donnelly, Quirk, Jevons Subs not used Jason McShane, Dobson, Gregson, Murphy Goal Jevons 53 Booked Shield

Referee Paul Root

Attendance 126

Additional reporting by Jamie Dewsbury