MIDWEEK victories keep 1874 Northwich and Northwich Victoria among a compact leading group in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

1874, who visit second-from-bottom Squires Gate on Saturday and then host Hanley Town on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm, climbed to fourth spot with a 2-1 win at home against Congleton Town.

They are two points behind leaders Longridge Town, one behind second-placed Bootle, with a game in hand on both – as have Whitchurch Alport, who are level on points with the side co-managed by Wayne Goodison and Paul Bowyer.

Jake Parker's strikes in the 56th and 76th minutes earned the points, though the visitors made it nervy with a 79th-minute response from Daniel Cope.

Vics, meanwhile, became the latest side to topple former frontrunners Rylands.

Their 2-1 victory at Gorsey Lane in Warrington came courtesy of a 52nd minute penalty by Jamie Reed, who was the supplier for Tom Kilifin's 39th-minute leveller after Ste Wolhuter had put the hosts ahead a short time earlier.

Steve Wilkes' men were living dangerously at times but defended magnificently.

At 1-0 down, the post saved them conceding another from a 30-yard shot by Freddie Potter.

Vics are without opponents on Saturday but will be the second Northwich side in four days to visit Squires Gate when they do so on Tuesday.

Witton Albion face a huge test on Saturday when they welcome BetVictor Premier Division leaders South Shields to Wincham Park, kick-off 3pm.

The north east outfit have lost only once in the league this season, are the Premier Division's leading scorers and have the best defensive record too - a record further cemented with Tuesday night's 2-1 win against Stalybridge.

Witton, on the other hand, became the fourth of five visitors to Stafford Rangers' Marston Road ground to leave with only a point.

Rangers, without a league win to their name, dropped into bottom spot as a consequence of the 1-1 draw, being leaped by Buxton after their 7-0 home win against Grantham Town.

Witton had to come from behind, with Will Jones' effort in the 64th minute cancelling out the opener by Jake Charles early in the second half.

For Carl Macauley's side it's now six games without a win and next up is the prospect of facing form team South Shields.

Albion, who remain 13th on the ladder, will then host 16th-placed Ashton United on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.