THE VICS COLUMN – by Pete Tonge

SO, pre-season has finished and we now enter a rather surreal month as we don’t know how many matches we face in September.

We definitely have two – the first taking place tonight, Tuesday, against Padiham in the FA Cup and then a FA Vase tie against Golcar United on Saturday, September 19.

Hopefully, we will have another FA Cup match on September 12 (subject to us having beaten Padiham) and then, who knows?

League fixtures don’t start until October and haven’t even been announced as yet, so it looks like it could be a stop-go start to the season which makes preparation for it difficult to say the least.

However, performances in the pre-season fixtures have been excellent, especially as the games have gone on.

We had a convincing 3-0 victory over our landlords – and higher-league opposition – in Witton Albion.

Ash Woods opened the scoring for Vics with a great 25-yard strike in the 15th minute, Dominic Marie doubled that lead in the 74th minute with a slightly deflected shot before an excellent quick breakaway in the 88th minute led to Oscar Durnin turning in a Darrhyl Mason cross to make the game safe.

Vics were then indebted to keeper Morgan Newns for two great saves in the last minute to keep their clean sheet. It’s always good to beat our friends Witton, even if it is only a pre-season friendly.

Next up were First Division North Club Prestwich Heys in our first game with a limited number of spectators allowed back to watch.

Again the Vics put on a worthy performance resulting in a 3 - 1 victory.

New striker Chad Whyte opened the scoring in the 10th minute, turning in a ball which had come off the post from a shot by Matty Birchall.

In the 64th minute, a well worked corner routine led to Mason tapping the ball home from inches out for his first goal for the Vics since his return.

Then came an early goal of the season contender as Durnin picked up a loose ball, casually beat one man and curled a 25 yarder into the top corner of the net. Prestwich did manage to get one back through Jack Turnbull, but it was a convincing display from the Vics.

The last friendly was last Saturday as Vics again took on higher league opposition in the shape of Atherton Collieries, now managed by ex-Vics captain and legend Brad Cooke, with ex-Vics players Danny Taberner and Jordan Darr in their line-up.

Another top display by as two quality goals (goal of the season is hotting up already) from Whyte capped a great all round performance.

This all bodes well for the season ahead, with the squad strength looking better than last season and competition for places in virtually all positions.

If you get the chance, come down and support your local football club in CW9 – it will be great to see you.

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