Peter Tonge tells the full story of Northwich Victoria’s midweek win at Barnoldswick Town…

A HIGHLY entertaining match, with Vics taking the win due to fine keeping, resolute and determined defending and clinical finishing.

Town started the match on the from foot with Vics trying to catch them out on the break.

In the fifth minute, Rudy Misambo had to be alert to head a dangerous cross from Brierley for a corner, from which Ben Ashton's shot was off target.

Vics' first chance came in the ninth minute when Carl Grimshaw latched onto Luke Sephton's flick and tried a volley which was blocked by Bamba's hand, but the referee waved play on.

In the 14th minute, Chris Cheetham in the Vics' net was called into serious action for the first time when he had to dive to his left to tip an Aaron Fleming shot around the post.

Barnoldswick came even closer in the 19th minute when an Alex Ralph shot was deflected onto the post and the rebound effort was somehow blocked.

Town finally got the goal they had been threatening in the 26th minute when a corner was only half-cleared to Fleming just inside the area and he fired in a great shot which gave Cheetham no chance.

However, Vics roared back and were level with a minute of the restart as Grimshaw picked up the ball well outside the area on the left and whipped in a delightful shot into the top left corner.

Vics then shocked Town even further in the 33rd minute as Joel Bembo-Leta and Matty Birchall linked up well down the left before the ball was laid across to Grimshaw, who smashed it into the Town net.

Then in the final minute of the half, the dangerous Fleming did the hard part in beating two defenders but failed to find a shot to match when well placed.

Vics had a chance to extend their lead in the 50th minute when Grimshaw was found with a ball over the top but his volley was high over the bar.

The match was getting a bit feisty now, with some late tackles going in resulting in three yellow cards for Barnoldswick in 10 minutes.

Inbetween, Town were indebted to keeper Jordan Gidley for an outstanding save from a Grimshaw header after a great cross from Birchall.

Town were pushing forward pressing for an equaliser, with Vics also looking dangerous every time they had the ball.

In the 67th minute, Birchall again cut in from the right but was unfortunate that the ball bobbled just as he struck his shot and the ball sailed over the bar.

Three minutes later, Town had a corner which rebounded off a player straight into the arms of Cheetham when it could have gone anywhere.

The match was fairly end-to-end exciting stuff now and in the 71st minute, Birchall again beat his man out wide right and struck a powerful shot which Gidley did well to hold.

Then, a cross from Town was headed out of Vics' box into the path of the onrushing Jack Higgins, who rocketed a first time shot which Cheetham did well to turn round for a corner.

Vics finally got the decisive goal as again Birchall caused havoc down the right, beat two defenders in the box before placing his shot into the far left on the net to give Vics a two-goal advantage.

Six minutes later, Vics made absolutely sure of the points when Sephton harassed keeper Gidley and a defender into a mix-up, the ball came out to Ryan Winder who controlled it, and chipped it back over the keeper's head into the net.

Town hadn't given up hope yet though, and only determined defending from Roman Allen and Brandon Barski denied Town what would have been a consolation goal.

Vics: Cheetham, Barski, Misambo, Allen, Bembo-Leta, Winder, Dunn, Sephton, Lynch (Owen 60), Birchall (Butterworth 87), Grimshaw (Clarke 66). Subs not used: Whyte, Wood