Peter Tonge reports on Northwich Victoria’s 3-1 victory at Irlam on Saturday…

A CONFIDENT performance turns an early setback into a well-deserved three points.

Vics started brightly and forced from the off. In the fourth minute, a Vics corner was only headed out to Liam Martin, who jinked past two defenders but his shot was deflected wide for another corner.

It was Martin with another strike after 11 minutes when he was found by Ash Dunn on the edge of the area, but again it went wide.

However, just two minutes later, Irlam took the lead with virtually their first attack.

A through ball found Millen Brown free and he calmly slotted the ball past Chris Cheetham into the corner of the net.

Vics responded well to this setback and should have equalised in the 19th minute when a good ball in found Martin free in the middle of the box, he struck it well but Lee White made a top-class reaction save with his right hand to keep Irlam in front.

However, Vics weren’t to be denied for long as in the 24th minute, a lovely ball in from Dunn found Matty Birchall in the box and he swivelled well and fired a shot high into the net, giving White no chance this time.

The game now settled down a bit with Vics having the best of it.

Luke Sephton powered a header over the bar from a corner while Matthew Dudley, Birchall and Martin proved a constant threat with their movement.

Vics started the second half carelessly as Joel Bembo-Leta was forced into a last-ditch tackle to deny John Main after he had robbed a dallying Vics’ defender.

A minute later, Vics were again found wanting as Jordan Southworth found himself clean through, but he smashed his shot against the bar when he should have done better.

Nick Taylor then shot wide for Irlam, but Vics started to settle again and in the 60th minute, they took the lead.

A corner from the left was flicked into the net by Brandon Barski, who had brilliantly run off his marker.

Irlam attempted to press but Vics were generally now in control of the match as the game became a bit patchy.

Vics made the game safe in the 83rd minute as Birchall tapped home a loose ball after Irlam had failed to clear.

Vics then played out the final 10 minutes without undue concerns although Cheetham was forced into a quality save to deny Irlam the chance of a second deep into injury time.