Peter Tonge’s verdict as Northwich Victoria got life at Winsford’s Barton Stadium off to a dramatic start by snatching a late winner to beat Darlaston Town 2-1…

A new home but the same old Vics as they left it late (very, very late) to grab a winner.

A quiet first few minutes to the first half as both teams sized each other up, but Vics slowly started to press forward as the time went by, with Malakai McKenzie and Sam Unwin causing problems down the wings.

Fifteen minutes in, McKenzie skipped past his man down the right and whipped in a dangerous cross which had to be cleared for a corner which came to nothing.

Two minutes later, McKenzie fed the ball to Hensley Mills who in turn set up Unwin, whose shot whistled over the bar.

Then, Vics earned a corner which was whipped in by McKenzie for Brandon Barski to time his run perfectly and head home from close range – what a way to mark his return to the club!

Debutant Jack Coop then fired a shot straight at the Town keeper before Darlaston Town, against the run of play, got an equaliser in the 37th minute as a corner was sent in, headed back across and Mardenborough was there to put the ball firmly past Adam Reid.

The half ended with Unwin having a shot deflected over the bar as Vics pressed for that half time advantage.

Another quiet start to a half with both teams struggling to get control of the match but then, in the 59th minute, Town’s No.9 Miller was sent off after collecting a second yellow card.

But as in the first meeting, this seemed to spur Town on as they started to loft the ball forward quickly to gain advantage from their height advantage.

In the 61st minute, they shot wide when well placed and then forced Reid into a great save at point blank range. The rebound really should have been put away but Town put it wide.

Vics were finding it hard to create anything but as time went on, they started to wrestle back control and put a little pressure on the Darlaston backline.

Vics were however indebted to a brilliant Cookson last-ditch challenge to deny Town a late winner in the 90th minute but Vics were also pressing forward looking for that late goal,  and they found it in the 95th minute.

The ball was played into the box by Joe Camozzi, Callum Parker’s shot was blocked before falling to the onrushing McKenzie, whose first effort rebounded back to him and he volleyed in from 8 yards out to set off mad scenes as players and fans celebrated.

Vics: Reid, Camozzi, Barski, Cookson, Bembo-Leta, McKenzie, Grindrod (Parker), Sixsmith, Unwin, Mills, (McWilliams) Coop. Subs not used: Camara, Battersby, Griman