Pete Tonge looks back over Northwich Victoria’s 2-2 draw at Darlaston Town…

IT was a match that Vics will feel they should have won after Town were reduced to 10 men early on, but will be happy to have earned a point after a poor second half.

A quiet start to the match changed in the 14th minute as Sam Unwin picked the ball up 25 yards out and crashed a low shot into the corner of the net to give Vics the lead.

Virtually straight from the kick off, Darlaston went forward on the attack and Vics seemed to have cleared the ball when the referee awarded a penalty, for what, I couldn’t tell you but Niall Battersby received a yellow card.

James Rowland duly obliged from the spot sending Adam Reid the wrong way.

More action in the 26th minute, but of the wrong sort, as a tussle between Reid and Town’s winger Lewis Gill ended up with Gill being sent off for kicking out.

Vics then had the ball in the net as Hensley Mills headed past the keeper from a lovely Clarke cross but he was ruled marginally off-side.

Vics, as expected against 10 men, were having the majority of the play and looking dangerous going forward now.

In the 36th minute, McKenzie beat his man down the right and squared the ball across to Unwin who forced the keeper into a great save.

However, despite the pressure, Vics couldn’t find the killer touch and it was all square at the break.

Having had time to reorganise over the interval, Darlaston came out with a purpose and despite being down to 10, they were forcing Vics back.

It wasn’t really a surprise  when in the 56th minute, Rowland escaped down the left and sent in a beautiful cross for Aaron Gill to head home from close range to put Town into the lead.

Town were the better team now, and Vics were indebted to Adam Reid in net for keeping them in the match as Vics struggled to cope with the pressure they were under.

However, Vics kept going and were slowly working their way back into the match as the half wore on, with McKenzie and Unwin causing problems down the wings.

Vics finally got their reward for never giving up in the 85th minute as a mistake at the back by Town allowed Sam Unwin to nip in and tap the ball home from close range.

Two all and all to play for the in the final few minutes, and both teams could (or should) have won it.

Firstly Town nearly capitalised on a mistake in the Vics defence which allowed Gill one on one with Reid who did brilliantly to deny him.

Then in added on time, Vics should have grabbed the points as the ball looped into the air in the middle of the Town box, and fell to Seico Camara who should have buried his header into the back of the net, but somehow managed to put the ball over the bar.

Then in the final seconds, Dylan Switters was sent off for Vics for something he said as he disputed an offside decision with the assistant referee.

Darlaston Town v Northwich Victoria match facts:

Darlaston Town 2 Northwich Victoria 2

Midland League Premier Division

Saturday, November 11, 2023

At Paycare Stadium, Darlaston

Vics: Reid, Griman (Ogundare 65’), Battersby, Cookson, Grindrod (Camara 84’), McKenzie, Clarke, Kilheeney, Switters, Unwin, Mills (Parker 67’). Subs not used: Perry P, Causer.

Goals: Town: Rowland 17’ (pen), Bishop 59’. Vics: Unwin 14’, 85’

Next match: Away v Tividale on Saturday, kick-off 3pm