Pete Tonge's verdict on Vics' 2-2 home draw with Studley in their first Midland Football League Premier Division game...

AN exciting game which both teams will feel they could have won, but a draw a fair result.

Vics started the better, and could have been two up inside the first 10 minutes.

First a ball over the top found Callum Parker who fired a shot in which was turned away for a corner from which Parker headed just wide.

Ten minutes in, and this time it was Niall Sultan who broke down the right and whipped a great cross in which just evaded the onrushing Samual Unwin at the far post.

Studley then started to get into the match, putting together a few passes and gaining a foothold.

They earned a free kick in the 17th minute which Reid turned round the post for a corner which was whipped in and Noke had a free header to score with ease.

Vics came back strongly though as a ball down the left was reached by Unwin who sent a cross which Ryan Jackson met but couldn't get enough power on his header to trouble the keeper.

However two minutes later, Vics were level as Jackson pounced on a loose ball in the area to half volley past the despairing keeper.

Level terms didn't last long as Vics messed up at the back allowing Guinan an easy chance to round the keeper and tap the ball into the net.

HALF-TIME: Northwich Vics 1 Studley 2

As in the first half, Vics came out fast, and were level within five minutes as the ball was put into the box where it pinballed about before Sam Unwin knocked the loose ball home.

Both teams then had the chances as the game ebbed and flowed.

Vics came close in the 67th minute as Malakai McKenzie won the ball on the left and played it into Unwin who whipped a shot in just past the post from 20 yards out.

Studley then had a couple of chances as the game went from end to end.

A cross from the left came in but the Studley player couldn't quite connect with it while a minute later, a chance was put just over the bar.

Vics very nearly grabbed a winner in the 79th minute as McKenzie again did well down the left and crossed to Unwin whose finish was just past the post.

Studley were then reduced to 10 men as Harry Lake was sent off for a second yellow with just eight minutes to go.

However it was Studley who had the best chance to grab a winner as the ball was sent across the box and only a goal-saving interception by Frazer Cookson stopped them from tapping the ball into the net.

It was an excellent match to watch, and Vics will be pleased with a point with a spirited hard-working display with three players making their debuts.

It's certainly going to be an exciting season for the Vics.

Manager Steve Pickup said after the game: "I thought the performance was a pretty good one given the huge transition we are going through.

"Studley are a very good, well organised and powerful outfit and will be very hard to beat this season.

"I thought we just edged it in terms of chances and positions we got into and chances created.

"I'm extremely proud for the effort and attitude that every player showed including the ones who came off the bench and the ones who didn't get on.

"We can see improvements every training session and every week there are signs of progression which is what we need.

"Thank you to all the great fans who turned out in their numbers today and your contribution to the game in terms of supporting the lads.

"This is a special club with special people and we will be rewarded with success if we all stick together."

Match facts:

Northwich Victoria 2 Studley 2

Midland League Premier Division

Saturday 12th August 2023

At U Lock It Stadium, Northwich

Vics: Reid, Kebaya, Cookson, Bamba, Roberts (Van Der Laan 70'), Jackson, Exell, Smith, Sultan (Kelly 65'), Unwin, Parker (McKenzie 56'). Subs not used: Hughes, Camara.

Goals: Northwich Vics: Jackson 27', Unwin 50'. Studley: Noke 17', Guinan 31'

NEXT MATCH: Tonight, away v STONE OLD ALLEYNIANS, 7.45pm kick off