Pete Tonge looks back at the highs and lows in his Northwich Victoria review of the season 2022/23...


AFTER a mixed pre-season, it was with a bit of concern that Vics’ fans looked forward to the oncoming new campaign which started on July 30!

First match was a home game versus one of the favourites for the league Avro, and Vics duly lost 1-0 despite having the better of the chances.

However, August came and things started looking up as The Trickies remained unbeaten in that month in the League with three wins and a draw at Winsford Utd.

Things were different in the two main Cup competitions however.

Despite winning at Squires Gate in the FA Cup in early August, Vics managed to lose 3–2 at home to West Didsbury & Chorlton in the next round two weeks later.

In the FA Vase, Vics witnessed their worst performance of the season, a 4–3 home defeat against Cheadle Town after being two-up at half-time - a truly abysmal second half performance!

September saw the good league form continue as the Greens recorded four wins and a draw in their five matches with striker Matt Dudley in sparkling form, scoring eight times during that month. Things were looking up.

During October, Vics lost crucial games against promotion rivals Wythenshawe Town and Vauxhall Motors though it was probably the home defeat against Kendal Town which was the biggest disappointment.

The first weekend of November saw the highly anticipated trip over to the Isle of Man and it didn’t disappoint as Vics came back from a goal down to win 3–1 in front of approximately 150 travelling Vics’ fans.

The evening celebrations, along with the players in Jak’s Bar, will live long in the memory, a fantastic night which bonded fans and players, as they danced and sang the night away along with the odd drink or three (fans only of course!) thrown in for good measure.

October also saw another two wins in the League, but another disappointing defeat away at Padiham as well as defeat in the Cheshire Senior Cup against Macclesfield. A Macron Cup win against Cheadle Town proved some consolation (and revenge) though.

December saw the weather take charge, causing four postponements, and only one League win in three home games put a dent in our promotion dreams. This included a Boxing Day defeat against Congleton Town followed by a 6–1 hammering from Bury on the 30th.

The weather again caused chaos in January with only two League matches possible, a goalless draw against high flying Wythenshawe Town and an important 1–0 win versus Prestwich Heys with Ryan Jackson getting a last minute winner.

The run in the Macron Cup also continued with a dramatic 4–3 victory at Barnoldswick Town whilst Vics also hammered Barnton 6–1 in the Mid Cheshire Cup competition.

The Barnoldwick Town match was the start of a great run for Vics, as they went through February unbeaten in the League with six wins and a draw away at West Didsbury and Chorlton.

This run included a magnificent performance, a 2–1 win away at eventual title winners Vauxhall Motors with Brandon Barski bending it like Beckham with two brilliant free-kicks.

Vics dared to dream again as they had games in hand on the top five and were closing the gap as title nerves stepped in and the current frontrunners dropped points.

March started with an unlucky defeat against Bury, but the big disappointment was to follow as Vics gained only one point from the next three matches which were all winnable (on paper anyway).

Finishing in the top two was now virtually impossible, but a trophy was won as Vics defeated Winsford United in the Mid Cheshire District Cup final. Not what Northwich started the season for, but no trophy is to be underestimated.

With the pressure off, Vics won the last five matches of the season on the run, with an emotional last match at Burscough as manager Steve Wilkes announced his resignation.

Steve takes great credit for lifting Vics from virtually rock bottom on and off the field, and helping turn it into one pressing for promotion, and we thank him for everything he has done for the club.

We ended the season in fifth, the same as the previous season but with considerably more points so some progress there and something to build on next season which we are already looking forward to.