Pete Tonge gives his verdict on Vics' success at promoted Prestwich heys...

AN early goal gave Northwich Victoria the confidence to build and record a comfortable 4-0 win at Prestwich Heys on the opening day of the North West Counties Premier Division.

Prestwich nearly got a dream start when a quick flicked shot forced Vics' keeper Chris Cheetham to make a good reaction save to his left to push the ball round the post.

However the resultant corner was cleared and a long ball played over the top for Matty Birchall to run on to, hold off his marker and fire a shot which Saunders in the Hey' net partly blocked but couldn't stop the ball looping into the net. A great start for the Vics.

Vics then had the best of the next 5 minutes or so, forcing a couple of corners before a lovely ball found Josh Winder out wide, who drove into the box and crossed to Birchall whose shot was deflected and comfortably saved by the keeper.

Prestwich then started getting into the game more as it began to settle down.

Joe Rothwell had a long range shot which went just wide after 10 minutes but now it was mainly a midfield passing game and there were few alarms for either team.

Northwich Guardian:

All pictures by Angela Buckley

Northwich Guardian:

Vics were looking to get the ball out wide to the dangerous Josh Winder and Brad Lynch whilst Heys were being restricted to long range efforts with Cheetham being relatively untroubled.

Vics came close again after 39 minutes, when Ryan Winder played the ball out to his brother Josh who escaped down the right and fired a superb ball across the goalmouth and Birchall just failed to slide in and touch the ball home.

Just before half-time, the impressive Tom Schofield won the ball in midfield, strode forward and fired a shot just wide from the edge of the area.

All in all, a comfortable half for Vics with the bonus of an early goal.

Vics came out firing in the second half, and almost straight from the kick off, Josh Winder chased down the right wing, crossed low and found Brad Lynch who calmly slotted the ball past the despairing Saunders to double Vics' lead.

This spurred Vics on, and they were now firmly in charge of the match.

On 51 mins, Fleming did well down the left and got another low cross in but the ball was flicked away. Next it was a fine ball from Ryan Winder to Scofield who get a touch but straight to Saunders.

Vics made the game safe after 66 minutes, as a Heys corner was cleared by Rudy Misambo to Josh Winder who rampaged down the right, coolly beat his man and calmly waited before laying the ball into the path of Brad Lynch who superbly fired into the right hand corner of the net.

Vics were content now to let Heys push forward which to their credit they did, but Vics' defence were formidable and determined not to concede.

Vics should have had a fourth in the 74th minute as the ever dangerous Josh Winder tried to run the ball down the right, lost the ball but managed to block the attempted clearance which fell to Matty Birchall with only the keeper to beat, but the chipped shot went wide of the goal.

Heys kept battling, and Cheetham was forced into a good save low down from a shot by Coop, before vics scored a goal straight from the training pitch as they won a corner which was played in by Ryan Winder to the edge of the area. The ball was brought down by that man Lynch who then calmly curled a shot into the top right corner of the net which gave the keeper no chance.

A performance which built in confidence as the game wore on, highlighted by some superb finishing from Brad Lynch.

Northwich Guardian:

All pictures by Angela Buckley

Northwich Guardian:

Man of the Match: Has to be Brad Lynch for his hat-trick, but special mentions for Josh Winder who caused all sorts of problems down the right, and for Rudy Misambo who was immense at the back. All in all, a result that will give Vics confidence for their midweek match against Avro.

Next matches: Wednesday 4th August : Home v Avro FC 7.45pm;Saturday 7th August : Away v Longridge Town 3.00pm FA CUP

Vics: Cheetham, Clarke, Misambo, ( Allen 80') , Barski, Fleming, Dunn. Winder R, Schofield, Winder J ( Sherlock 76') Birchall, Lynch ( Waller 85'). Unused subs: Mather, Whyte

Vics goals: Birchall 4', Lynch 46', 66', 83'

Bookings: Birchall 91'