TITLE-CHASING 1874 Northwich head into a derby week buoyed by a winning return to action following weeks of postponements.

The side managed by Wayne Goodison and Paul Bowyer head to Winsford United in the North West Counties Premier League on Sunday, kick-off 2.30pm, with a seven-point lead at the summit thanks to Tuesday night’s 3-2 success against promotion rivals Longridge Town at Townfield.

With either the games in hand or the points advantage they hold on the sides around them, the Greens can afford to lose three and draw one of their remaining 11 games and still finish top of the pile.

It is a fantastic position to be in, but they will not be thinking along those lines as they continue to aim to deliver a performance game by game while hunting silverware on three fronts, having also reached the semi-finals of the Macron Challenge Cup and the Mid-Cheshire Senior Cup.

They visit higher-league neighbours Witton Albion, who they knocked out of the Cheshire Senior Cup earlier this season, in the latter on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.

Supporters may hope they can rattle up the necessary wins in a way that leaves them with some finger nails though.

Tuesday’s success, achieved with leading scorer Scott McGowan’s 90th-minute strike, is not dissimilar to the late, late shows in securing a draw at Northwich Victoria in their previous league outing on February 12 and the win at Skelmersdale on January 25.

“We like a last-minute goal at this club, don’t we,” said Goodison after the dramatic conclusion to the victory over Longridge (see adjacent match report).

“It’s testament to the players that they keep doing what they’re good at.

“They don’t panic, thy don’t start resorting to long balls in the box.

“We just kept playing and we got our reward in the end. And we deserved it.”

Longridge came with a different game plan than was expected but 1874’s ability to adapt contributed considerably to an important win.

“We adapted because we’ve got clever footballers,” said Goodison.

“We’ve got lads in the team who know what they’re doing.

“They can spot things on the pitch and they need very little input from me or Paul on the sidelines, just a couple of little things we spoke about at half-time.

“I think the longer the game went on we looked stronger.

“They lost a man to a second yellow card and that just played straight into our hands.

“We just penned them in for the last 20 minutes or so.”

Additional reporting, Matt Waters