THEY left it late, but fresh legs eventually won the day for 1874 Northwich in more ways than one.

Having unexpectedly had Boxing Day off, one sensed a late twist in Greens’ favour against an injury-stricken Rylands side playing their second game in three days.

They kept plugging away without reward until substitute James Ormrod’s winner two minutes from time allowed them to pick up three points at Townfield to continue apace at the top of the North West Counties League Premier Division.

Lee Knight had given 74 the lead, only for Kane Drummond to cancel it out with an equaliser for the visitors on the stroke of half time.

“I think we just about got what we deserved,” 1874 co-manager Wayne Goodison said.

“There wasn’t much in the game – they were really good and worked really hard defensively.

“They had a lot of injuries and players playing out of position, but they’re a good side and we knew we had to be somewhere near our best.

“We didn’t feel we were all the way through but we kept going, persevered and in the end, we just about deserved it.”

With the slope in their favour in the opening exchanges, 1874 were on the front foot and Knight’s goal rewarded their positive start.

Having been found by an excellent ball from Sam Hare, Knight bundled through several challenges and while his initial effort was blocked, his second found the far corner.

Northwich Guardian:

Northwich Guardian:

Northwich Guardian:

Lee Knight opens the scoring. Pictures by Frank Oakes

More progressive football was being played in the Rylands half but the hosts could not extend their advantage – Lee Jackson coming closest with a free header from a corner that went just wide.

As the half grew on, Rylands became more confident and after Greens stopper Tony Agayhere had saved well from Liam O’Neill, they got their leveller.

Andy Scarisbrick carried through midfield and his pass allowed Drummond to spring the offside trap.

This time, there was nothing Agayhere could do as Drummond powered home at the near post.

“We felt we didn’t quite manage those last couple of minutes of the first half too well,” Goodison said.

“We were trying to force things.

“Then again, I can’t be too critical as we try to play positively and score goals.

“The players were disappointed because if we’d have got to 1-0 at half-time having not played as well as we could have done, we may have been a bit more comfortable in the second half.”

Despite having much of the ball in the second half, 1874 struggled to create clear-cut openings.

The third goal of an intriguing contest almost went to the visitors courtesy of their skipper Ste Wolhulter, whose rasping half-volley had Agayhere beaten but rebounded off the crossbar.

Time started to work against the hosts but just as it threatened to run out, they struck.

Two substitutes combined as Ormrod rose highest to nod home Callum Gardner’s corner and spark wild celebrations from the home faithful.

“We knew James would give us that extra bit of height from set-pieces,” Goodison said.

“We brought him on as Matt Woolley had worked really hard on a heavy pitch and was starting to blow a little bit.

“It was an unbelievable header. I’m pleased for him because he’s really developed and come on this year.

“Callum came on because Taylor (Kennerley) wasn’t quite right.

“It’s a great delivery from him but we know he’s going to do that.”

There was still time for Rylands to miss a glorious chance to snatch a point as substitute Sam O’Halleron blasted over the bar when clean through on goal, but 1874 were good value for their win.