WEST Didsbury & Chorlton shored up a previously porous defence, but in-form Scott McGowan still found a way through.

The striker’s 17th goal of the campaign separated 1874 Northwich from an opponent that has now lost eight of their past nine games.

They have still never won this fixture either.

McGowan applied a finishing touch from close range to beat goalkeeper Steve Dryden after substitute Sam Hind had crossed.

Both teams struck the woodwork before full-time.

First, Ashley Woods’ cross was redirected against the frame by Joe Shaw as West threatened an equaliser.

At the other end, Adam Whitlock’s surging run ended with his shot smacking the base of an upright.

It brought the wide man’s afternoon full circle, for he had stuck a post in the second-minute direct from a free-kick.

The home team, buoyed by battering Tow Law Town in an FA Vase tie on Tuesday that extended a winning sequence to five matches in all competitions, began brightly.

Taylor Kennerley brought the best from Dryden too, although Woods’ attempt flashed across the face of goal at the other end.

McGowan’s effort was narrowly off-target after he was first to a long ball but West, who had shipped 28 goals in their previous eight matches, were dogged in defence.

As half-time approached McGowan received the ball in a packed penalty area with his back to goal, but manufactured an angle from which he could shoot.

Dryden was equal to his effort though.

Jake Parker was next to go close, but he blazed high after his initial attempt had been blocked by a defender.

The second-half followed a similar pattern with 1874 dominating possession against guests content to absorb pressure before attempting to counter.

McGowan was again denied by Dryden after Ryan Mitchell’s pass had invited Whitlock to raid on the right, and Kennerley’s follow-up attempt was off-target.

Former 1874 forward Tom Bailey teed up Ben Steer during a rare West attack, but the midfielder’s shot cleared the crossbar.

1874 | Hall (GK), Mitchell, Lee Jackson, Pritchard, Meadowcroft, Jones (Hind 64), Whitlock, Matthew Woolley, McGowan, Parker (Waite-Jackson 64), Kennerley Subs not used Riley, Connor, Ben Woods Goal McGowan 69

West | Dryden (GK), Mason, Tinker, Hagon, Sergeant, Potts, Steer (Hilton 70), Shaw (Massamba 79), Bailey, Kay, Ashley Woods Subs not used Whyment, Weston, Settle Booked Potts, Mason, Bailey, Sergeant

Referee Alan Bennett

Attendance 244

Additional reporting by Garry Clarke