Peter Tonge gives his verdict on Northwich Victoria’s 0-0 draw with Runcorn Town on Saturday…

A MATCH that never really got going until the last 15 minutes when Vics could have snatched it.

Vics nearly got off to the best possible start as they slotted the ball home from just inside the area in the first minute, but the flag was already up for a clear offside.

The first real chance came in the 11th minute when Matty Birchall seized upon an error by a Runcorn defender and struck a shot, but it was well blocked and deflected wide.

Runcorn then had their first effort but McDonnell’s shot lacked power and Cheetham made an easy save.

The best chance of the half fell to Brad Lynch as he went through one-on-one in the 22nd minute, but he dallied about his shot and in the end it was easily saved by Adam Reid in the Town net.

The rest of the half was then mainly a midfield affair with neither team managing to find that final pass or moment of magic to break open two resolute defences.

Northwich Guardian:

However it was enlivened (if that’s the right word) by a “bit of handbags” as Luke Sephton was struck by a Town defender off the ball and he retaliated with a punch which resulted in him and Town’s Foulkes being red carded.

Quite rightly in Sephton’s case though I’m not sure the referee picked the correct Town player! The second half proved livelier though lacking in real quality.

Runcorn were gifted a chance in the 53rd minute as Bembo-Leta mis-controlled the ball at the back and allowed Runcorn the chance of a shot, which was well wide.

Then, two minutes later, good work down the right led to the ball being crossed to the near post where Christian Mather flicked a header against bar and it fell to Matt Dudley five yards out, but he skied the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Northwich Guardian:

The match was more end-to-end now with Runcorn firstly being denied by a last-ditch tackle from Matty Clarke and then forcing Cheetham into a great save from a looping header following a corner. Vics then created a chance for Birchall as he fired in a volley from the edge of the area but it was over the top.

In the last 5 minutes, both teams had chances to snatch a win.

Firstly in the 87th minute, Runcorn were allowed a free header from a cross which was directed low into the corner but somehow Cheetham managed to get down and make a great save.

Then in the 92nd minute, there was mayhem in the Runcorn box following a corner with shots from Birchall and Martin being blocked before another shot by Birchall somehow got deflected as it looked to be heading in and ended up trickling inches wide of the post.

Northwich Guardian:

Match action pictures by Angela Buckley