1874 NORTHWICH were not at their best, at least initially, but they were still far too good for Maine Road.

This was a record-breaking ninth consecutive win and the perfect preparation for a derby meeting with Winsford on Boxing Day.

They climbed three places in the table too and, although they remain in the Premier Division’s bottom-half, it can be galvanising to be upwardly mobile.

When Taylor Kennerley guided Sam Hind’s cross into the top corner with the deftest of headers on 57 minutes, the game was already up.

The wide-man treated the home team’s supporters to an even better finish to make it 5-0, arcing a shot in off an upright with a swish of his left boot from the edge of the penalty area.

Their quest to update the club’s history books, already amended this season to reflect best-yet runs in the FA Cup and FA Vase, resumed after a fortnight’s pause.

Management duo Paul Bowyer and Wayne Goodison restored Scott McGowan and Kennerley to the starting line-up, and both played a part in the opening goal.

There was an air of generosity about referee Blake Antrobus’ decision to award a penalty when the latter tumbled following contact with a defender.

Maine Road did not protest much, mind, and McGowan helped himself to an 18th goal of the campaign from the spot.

It was not a catalyst though and 1874, unsurprisingly after a period of inactivity, were too often careless in possession.

They were tidier as the game unfolded, and Kennerley’s angled attempt flashed wide of an upright after Paul Connor and Jake Parker combined in the build-up.

Lee Jackson’s cross was flicked on by a marauding Mark Jones a minute later, and narrowly missed the target.

Jones headed too close to goalkeeper Ryan Livesey at a corner, although he was more accurate when he swept McGowan’s cutback out of the custodian’s reach in the moments before half-time.

The outcome was settled in a five-minute spell after the interval.

Parker dispatched an emphatic finish from another McGowan lay-off to make it 3-0, the midfielder’s ninth goal of the campaign.

Jack Coop had a rare glimpse of goal for the visitors at the other end, but goalkeeper Greg Hall blocked his low attempt with a foot at his near post.

It was a brief respite and Kennerley ghosted into a position from which he could meet Hind’s cross, using its pace to guide the ball across Livesey and into the opposite corner, for the hosts’ fourth goal.

The Maine Road number one was brave later to smother Hind’s shot after he had fumbled substitute Adam Whitlock’s driven cross.

However he could only watch and admire, along with everybody else at St Luke’s Barton Stadium, when Kennerley added gloss with his curling strike on 70 minutes.

Kyle Riley and Kazim Waite-Jackson both made cameos as replacements, and the latter’s free-kick grazed a post before the final whistle.

Maybe a rest is as good as a change after all.

And in this form 1874 won’t want another postponement any time soon.

1874 | 4-2-3-1 | Hall (GK), Connor, Mitchell, Pritchard, Lee Jackson, Matthew Woolley (Whitlock 59), Jones, Hind, Parker (Waite-Jackson 72), Kennerley, McGowan (Kyle Riley 72) Subs not used Woods, Thomas Goals McGowan 12 (penalty), Jones 43, Parker 52, Kennerley 57, 69

Maine Road | 4-4-2 | Livesey (GK), Wright, Brown (Sam Riley 25), Edwards, Socha, Langford, Breslin, Pope (Woodcock 54), Cookson, Coop (Thompson-Edwards 71), Wills Sub not used Mason Booked Pope (foul)

Referee Blake Antrobus

Attendance 230