Vics enter uncharted territory

Northwich Victoria are newcomers to the FA Vase and only participated in the competition for the first time last season.

They lost on their debut against Stockport Town and so have easily improved on that run by making it to the fourth round this time around.

Steve Wilkes has made it to a personal milestone in his managerial career by steering a side to this stage, although he did reach the semi-finals as a player with Bamber Bridge back in 1992.

They are also the only team from the North West Counties League to be guaranteed a place in the last 32 until Irlam replay their tie with Winterton Rangers.

Staying solid in defence

Danny Taberner, Vics’ goalkeeper, has played for eight hours in the FA Vase this term without conceding a goal.

That sequence also includes a period of extra time in a second-round meeting with Prestwich Heys.

Protected by Brandon Barski and Andrew Fitgerald, who are developing a solid partnership in front of him, the former Atherton Collieries goalkeeper enjoyed a trouble-free afternoon.

In fact, a looping effort from substitute Danny Forrest in the third minute of injury time was the only attempt on target by Silsden at Wincham Park.

The visitors played with plenty of endeavour, and didn’t wilt after falling behind, but never looked likely to carve open an opportunity.

In praise of Reece McNally

The full-back’s registration was approved on Friday and he made his Vics debut without the benefit of having trained with his teammates before the game.

The Prescot Cables man will remain with the club until Kirtis Monson completes a suspension as punishment for his dismissal in a 2-1 win against Charnock Richard last weekend.

And the signs are he won’t let anybody down in the weeks ahead.

He was assured in defence and took a chance to contribute to attack when the moment was right.

Wilkes said: “I think the biggest compliment I can pay to Reece is that it was impossible to tell he’d never played for us before.”

A subplot that intrigued everybody

Joel Brownhill’s personal quest to find a way past Silsden goalkeeper Sam Lee was a gripping one.

The Vics attacker, always available for a teammate and confident enough to shoot at goal with his left foot from outside of the penalty area, was repeatedly thwarted by an inspired opponent.

A stunning save in the first-half led to a corner from which Brandon Barski put Vics in front and there were two stops – both of them low down – from free-kicks in the second that were brilliant.

There was little Lee could do though when the former Ashton Athletic forward drilled a penalty out of his reach with five minutes left.

He deserves credit for stepping up after missing the past two.

A home draw, please…

Vics have been flawless in knockout games at Wincham Park since returning there at the start of this season.

Their tally of victories, across three competitions, stands at seven and they have scored 20 goals in the same sequence.

It’s easy to understand then why Steve Wilkes, when asked, said he’d back his side to beat anybody on home turf ahead of a draw for the last 32 on Monday.

“We’re playing well here,” he said.

“We’ve grown used to the surroundings and to the playing surface and that’s why I’d love another home draw.

“The lads want an away day I think, but I’ve told them they can have one of those if they get a little bit further!”