TWO second-half goals in the space of five minutes kept Northwich Victoria in the winning groove on Saturday.

Joel Brownhill came off the bench following his return from holiday to net the opener against Skelmersdale at Wincham Park, and then Tom Kilifin secured the 2-0 success in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

The match could have produced more goals except for two fine goalkeeping displays by Danny Taberner for Vics, and Ben Barnes in the Skelmersdale net.

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Vics, with new signing Jamie Reed in the starting team, had to deal with some early pressure.

Skem forced a corner after just two minutes which was recycled back across the box, Taberner doing well to just get a hand to the cross but the ball fell kindly to Jordan Tyrer who scuffed his shot wide.

Then it was Vics' turn.

Kilifin laid the ball through to Rob Doran, who surged up to the edge of the area but his shot went high and wide.

Some excellent link-up play between Jamie Reed and Joe Camozzi allowed latter to fire the ball across but Kilifin just failed to get the vital touch on the goal-line before the defender.

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Doran was then forced off with an injury, to be replaced by Brownhill.

Some fine interplay by Kilifin and Reed, led to the ex-Ashton United man crashing a shot just wide of the post.

A poor headed clearance from a long goal kick only found Skelmersdale's Jack Grimshaw whose shot produced a fine diving save from Taberner.

Brownhill tried an instinctive lob from 25 yards out but it went harmlessly over the bar.

The best move of the match came after 41 minutes, when Vics cleared a corner out to Eddie Toner. He found Reed who in turn played a wonderful ball up to Ryan Winder, who turned his man, and laid the ball across to the onrushing Kilifin who forced Barnes into a great save.

The first goal arrived after 55 minutes as Kilifin did well to cleverly flick the ball up to Brownhill, who managed to hold off his marker and fire a shot across the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

Vics nearly made it two, just a minute later as Camozzi's fine cross found Brownhill whose flicked header just went over the bar.

Soon after though, Vics did get their second when a Camozzi throw into the box was laid back by Reed to Brownhill whose fierce drive could only be parried by the keeper, into the path of Kilifin who was quickest to react.

Taberner had to be at his best again after 65 minutes when a fine cross was acrobatically flicked towards goal by the Skem striker but 'Tabbs' was alert down to his right.

Skem were now pushing forward trying to find a way back into the match, but Taberner was equal to a couple of long range shots.

Vics thought they had extended their lead after 78 minutes when Keiron Kenny perfectly met a free kick from the right but the keeper did excellently to make a quick reaction save and push the ball to safety.

The battle of the keepers continued after 87 minutes when Kilifin's fierce strike was heading for the top corner, but Barnes produced another great save to push the ball around the post.

There was still time for Taberner to show his quality, and he also produced a great save to deny Skelmersdale a consolation goal from a well struck shot from the edge of the area.

Vics: Taberner, Camozzi, Barski, Kenny, Fleming, Toner (Grundy 82), Clarke (Henry 76), Winder, Reed, Doran (Brownhill 19), Kilifin. Unused subs: Wilson, Hinchcliffe.

Vics visit Runcorn Town in the league on Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm, before hosting Prescot Cables in the FA Cup on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

Litherland REMYCA will be the visitors on Monday, kick-off 3pm.