Pete Tonge looks back over the 2-1 win for Northwich Victoria against Romulus…

A SPLENDID first-half display by Vics, and some resolute defending in the second half, and a never-say-die attitude makes the three points well deserved.

A late winner was needed by the Vics after a Romulus fightback in the second period.

Vics should have been more than just the one goal up in the first half as they played good attacking football throughout.

The first real chance came in the 10th minute as Joe Camozzi flew down the right and fired a low ball across goal for Sam Unwin to strike high over the bar.

Three minutes later, it was Unwin again with a chance, this time a header straight at the keeper from a Marcus Perry cross.

Vics earned a free kick in the 19th minute as Dylan Switters was hacked down, it was floated in and met at the far post by Fraser Cookson whose header was brilliantly saved by Gwilliams in the Romulus net.

Vics were knocking on the door, and the goal eventually came three minutes later, albeit from the penalty spot.

Sam Unwin stole in, in front of the keeper from a cross and was promptly pushed in the back to the ground by Williams.

Up stepped Marcus Perry to fire the spot kick into the bottom left corner to give Vics the lead their play deserved.

Shortly afterwards , Perry was substituted off with a thigh injury and replaced by Niall Sultan who was soon in the action as he collected the ball and fired a shot off the crossbar!

Vics should then have had another penalty in the 36th minute as Unwin was brought down two foot inside the area, but the referee gave a free kick outside the area, ignoring the liner’s advice.

The resultant free-kick came to nothing.

Unwin then curled an effort just over the bar in the 44th minute before Romulus had their best chance of the half on the stroke of half time as their winger forced Reid to make a great save, palming the ball around the post.

A different look to the second half as Romulus pushed forward, disrupting Vics’ passing game.

A half volley from the edge of the area flew high over Reid’s bar while Vics responded with a Sultan effort curled inches over the bar after he was played in by Switters.

However, it was Romulus who equalised in the 57th minute as the ball bounced around in the Vics area before being put away by Cameron Lee.

It was Romulus who were looking the most likely to get a winner now as Vics came under a sustained period of pressure but Vics stood firm and slowly worked their way back into the game as it approached the last 10 minutes.

Callum Parker came on and was unlucky as he fired just over the top after a mazy run past three defenders.

Vics were then awarded a free kick five yards out of the penalty area which Sultan blasted goalwards but it was deflected for a corner.

This was played short to Sultan who curled a cross in, which Parker back-headed across goal, as the keeper failed to collect, for Fraser Cookson to head home much to the delight of the Vics faithful.

There was still time for drama though as deep into injury time, Joel Bembo-Leta, on his return to the Vics, was sent off for retaliation after being fouled as Romulus went in search of the equaliser. However, Vics stood firm and claimed the three points.

Match facts:

Northwich Victoria 2 Romulus 1

Midland League Premier Division

At U Lock It Stadium, Northwich

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Vics: Reid, Camozzi, Cookson, Bembo-Leta, Roberts, Smith, Kilheeney, Clarke, Switters (Parker 77’), Perry ( Sultan 30’), Unwin ( Camara 84’)

Goals: Northwich Vics: Perry 23’ (pen), Cookson 87’. Romulus: Lee 57’

Next matches: Wednesday, Vics v Cheadle Town, Cheshire Cup, 7.45pm; Saturday, Stourport Swifts v Vics, Midland League Premier Division, 3pm