Northwich Victoria 0-1 Irlam 1

STEVE Wilkes said his players hadn’t wanted to beat Irlam badly enough after Northwich Victoria slipped to a narrow defeat.

They continued a busy run-in, which has seen them play eight games in 22 days, with a below-par performance in their final home fixture of the campaign on Easter Monday.

“It’s the first time this season I’ve told the lads they hadn’t shown enough desire,” said the Vics boss.

“It would be easy to blame the number of matches we’ve had but that’s not my style and we have to be better than that.”

The visitors threatened quickly, and Liam Pollitt picked out Matthew Boland but his shot flashed wide.

They swapped roles for the game’s only goal on 17 minutes, the former meeting his teammate’s floated cross with a volley.

Vics responded when Matty Clarke’s cross was met by Darryhl Mason but his header lacked the force to beat goalkeeper Lee White.

Instead Jordan Buckley wasted a glorious chance for the visitors after running clear, failing even to hit the target.

He wriggled into space shortly afterwards and laid off for Boland, but Northwich custodian Danny Taberner produced his best to push a fierce shot around an upright.

The home team improved in the second-half and Mason’s next headed attempt, this time from Ryan Winder’s corner, was off-target.

They made a strong appeal for a penalty too when Dom Craig went down after retrieving a free-kick but the referee wasn’t persuaded to award one.

Vics | Taberner (GK), Camozzi, Fleming (Cooke 71), Winder, Fitzgerald, Barski, Clarke, Craig, Matthews (Whyte 75), Darr, Mason Subs not used Pickup, Kenny, Cottam (GK) Booked Fleming, Craig, Mason

Irlam | White (GK), Braithwaite, Bolton, Doyle, Ledson, Cassell, Pollitt, Morrison, Buckley (Foulds 86), Farrelly, Boland Subs not used Eyres, Nixon Goal Pollitt 17 Booked Ledson, Boland

Attendance 151