1874 NORTHWICH will be hoping Jake Parker’s winner can be a catalyst for their campaign.

He steered in a stylish goal six minutes after the interval, settling the outcome of a close encounter between rivals with designs on a promotion-challenge.

Both teams have work to do.

However the visitors will be encouraged by becoming the first side to prevent Bootle from scoring in front of their own supporters this season.

They started brightly, and Scott McGowan twice went close early on; his first attempt was blocked by goalkeeper Jordan Gidley before a second effort cleared the crossbar.

Connor Millington and Ryan Cox narrowly missed the target at the other end, while Michael Ordish’s free-kick scraped the woodwork.

1874, shorn of suspended Paul Connor and injured Danny Meadowcroft in defence, were grateful to custodian Greg Hall when he blocked Conor Ellis-Pratt’s close-range shot with a boot.

When Northwich next attacked, Adam Whitlock’s cross bounced off McGowan and prompted Gidley to tip over.

Parker broke through shortly after half-time, and his teammates defended resolutely to register a third shut-out of term in a North West Counties League fixture.

Mark Jones saw an attempt blocked from Parker’s cross on 75 minutes, only for Bootle sub Ben Hodkinson to race to the downfield with the loose ball.

However as he prepared to shoot, Ryan Mitchell timed perfectly his intervention.

1874 were denied again when a defender smuggled McGowan’s shot, from a Whitlock corner, off the goal-line.

Bootle pushed hard for an equaliser during the closing stages, and went closest in added time when leading-scorer Cox fluffed a sitter with the goal at his mercy.

Bootle | Gidley (GK), Coughlan (Kelly 84), Halligan, Murphy, Rendell, Woolcott, Ordish, Loughlin, Ellis-Pratt (Milne 79), Millington (Hodkinson 72), Cox Subs not used Powell, Taylor (GK) Booked Murphy

1874 | Hall (GK), Lever, Lee  Jackson, Pritchard, Mitchell, Jones, Whitlock, Matthew Woolley, McGowan (Riley 86), Parker (Woods 77), Kennerley (Hind 61) Subs not used Haughton, Waite-Jackson Goal Parker 51 Booked Kennerley

Referee Matthew Scholes

Attendance 203

Match report by Garry Clarke