Peter Tonge tells the story of Northwich Victoria’s 1-0 home loss to Prestwich Heys on Saturday…

AFTER a promising first half, Vics failed to turn up for the second and fell to a deserved defeat.

The first half started with both teams playing the ball around well but with little penetration, which became the pattern of the whole match.

In fact, the first real threat on goal came in the 10th minute as Vics won the ball in midfield and quickly fed it through to Luke Sephton, but his shot from 25 yards was comfortably wide.

Four minutes later, Brad Lynch did well down the left to beat two men then cut inside and shoot, but his shot was blocked well.

Prestwich’s first real chance fell in the 15th minute as a corner was put in by Rothwell and met powerfully by Scot Cullen’s head, but it went high and wide.

Vics were generally having the better of the match but still not producing that final ball. Lynch had a chance in the 28th minute as he broke into the area but he couldn’t get any power on his shot and Saunders in the Heys net saved easily.

Matty Birchall then did well to get down the right and put in a great teasing cross, which was just cleared before it fell to the waiting Sephton for a tap in.

All in all, plenty of decent build-up play in the first half but with very little end product from both teams. The second half was all Prestwich with them threatening from the start as Rothwell lifted a ball into the centre towards the dangerous Jack Coop, but Cheetham managed to get there just before the striker.

Heys then went close in the 57th minute as Rhian Hellawell drove down the left and lofted the ball into the box which was half cleared out to Coop, whose volley from the edge of the area struck the post.

Vics, however, should have gone ahead in the 69th minute as a header back to the keeper was intercepted by Lynch but his shot was into the side netting.

They were made to pay for this a minute later as the referee gave a soft free-kick for what looked like a fair shoulder-to-shoulder challenge by Bembo-Leta just outside the left area of the box.

Rothwell played in the free-kick low across the area and Cullen was able to easily flick the ball into the net as Vics’ defence turned off.

Cheetham was then forced into a fine save from another Coop shot from 20 yards whilst Dwyer stuck a shot from the resulting corner high over the bar.

Vics did then try and up the pace but even with five minutes of injury time added on, they never really threatened the Heys goal and they held firm to record a deserved victory.