1874 Northwich head to Whitchurch Alport tonight for a top-of-the-table tussle.

Whitchurch, second in the North West Counties Premier Division, go into the contest at Yockings Park having not been in action since defeating Shrewsbury Town 3-1 in the Shropshire Senior Cup Final last Tuesday.

They were left without a game at the weekend after their visit to Bootle was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

For 1874, however, it is a quick turnaround after having overcome Skelmersdale United at home 1-0 on Saturday.

Jake Parker notched the all-important goal in the 30th minute of a fairly eventful game.

1874, co-managed by Wayne Goodison and Paul Bowyer, went into the weekend’s contest with four changes from the side that bowed out of the FA Cup at the hands of higher-league Whitby Town a week earlier.

Mark Jones started in place of Lee Jackson, Harry Cain took over from Michael Koral, Nathan Okome came in for Scott McGowan and Taylor Kennerley lined up instead of Samuel Hare.

Goodison suggested the changes may have played a part in a performance that was below his side’s usual standard, despite keeping the clean sheet and ultimately making it five wins from six in the league this season.

“We think we were a little bit below par,” said Goodison.

“Perhaps the decision making at times wasn’t quite good enough.

“We got in a few times and we felt we should have scored more goals.

“But it was one of those kind of games that you can get.

“Sometimes if you can win like that it will stand you in good stead.”

Skelmersdale had Einar White sent off for a raised elbow in the 79th minute but the visitors still managed to pile forward to seek an equaliser.

Two minutes into extra time they still looked threatening and Matthew Woolley’s timely intervention could well have saved the day for the hosts.

“A man down and a goal down, they can have a free go at it. They might as well go at it gung ho,” added Goodison.

“We just didn’t quite make the right decisions in the last 10 minutes or so.

“We made a few changes, some we had to and some we thought we needed to.

“So maybe that will explain some of the disjointed performance.

“I can’t fault anybody for the effort we put in, we can never do that.

“We ran around and put a lot into it.”

With a bit more luck 1874 would have had a few more goals and not put their fans through nervy closing stages.

Three times they hit the woodwork, twice before the break.

Okome’s header scratched the surface off a post in the 12th minute and Matthew Woolley’s curled free kick also hit an upright.

A Woolley head also skimmed the cross bar in the 72nd minute.

Sub Samuel Hare got the ball in the net eight minutes from time but was ruled off-side, an offence that ended a number of promising moves for the hosts.

In the end there was only the one goal courtesy of Parker.

Matthew Russell jumped onto a poor back pass and squeezed the ball under the keeper for Parker to fire home into an empty net.

One player back in training who did not appear on Saturday is Ryan Mitchell.

“He’s getting there,” said Goodison.

“He trained the other night but was a little sore afterwards.

So he did a little bit on Saturday. We’ll be careful with him because we need him to be fit to play, not just one game and then miss a few. So we’ll see how he is probably in a week’s time.”