Pete Tonge looks back over Northwich Victoria’s 2-2 draw at home to Stourport Swifts on Saturday…

IT was a draw that feels like a defeat for the Vics as they threw away a two-goal lead in the last few minutes.

A match that opened with both teams having chances with Stourport forcing a corner in the first minute which came to nothing whilst Callum Parker for Vics beat his man down the left and put in a cross which Malakai McKenzie just failed to get on the end of.

Stourport were doing most of the pressing but it was Vics who took the lead in the 23rd minute as Sam Unwin broke free of the back line and fired in a shot which Jamie Emery in the Stourport net spilt into the path of Callum Parker who fired home.

Stourport were now doing most of the pressing but Vics’ defence were holding firm with Adam Reid being forced into an excellent fingertip save from a free kick.

However, Vics were always looking dangerous on the counter, and should have gone further ahead in the 38th minute as McKenzie raced down the right and slid the ball across to Unwin who hit it first time but over the bar.

Marcus Perry for Vics then had a chance from a well worked corner routine but skied the ball over before Stourport missed a gilt-edged chance as they dragged a shot wide when faced with an open goal.

Then in first half added on time, Vics extended their lead as Perry fed Camozzi down the right whose excellent cross was slammed home by the onrushing Unwin.

The second half started with Vics sitting back allowing Stourport to have the ball and relying on quick counters.

The Swifts were creating little with Vics’ defence looking solid, and indeed it was Vics who went closest to scoring in the 57th minute.

The referee allowed Vics to take a quick free kick which set Perry free on goal and his shot beat the goalkeeper but not the post.

McKenzie then made the wrong choice when he found space on the right of the penalty area and opted to shoot from a tight angle instead of playing it across to a couple of free players in front of goal.

It was still Stourport having most of the ball but Vics creating the best chances as first Dylan Switters swept a shot just wide and then Mckenzie having a shot well cleared after being set up by the impressive Parker.

The Swifts never gave up though, and grabbed a goal back in the 89th minute as Lees’ shot found the far corner despite Reid getting a hand to the ball.

Two minutes later it was 2-2 as a ball into the Vics box created chaos and Hanson fired into the net from a few yards whilst Vics claimed a foul in the build up.

The drama wasn’t over yet though as in the third minute of added on time, Switters was sent through one on one, and was cynically brought down just outside the area by a Swifts defender who was promptly shown a red card by the referee. As they say, he took one for the team, but it really doesn’t seem suitable justice for the crime.

Switters fired the resultant free kick into the wall and Vics were left to rue two dropped points.

Much to cheer about Vics’ display against a team fourth in the League, but ultimately they will be disappointed to only have gained the one point.

Match facts:

Northwich Victoria 2 Stourport Swifts 2

Midland League Premier Division

Saturday 16th December 2023

At Barton Stadium, Winsford

Vics: Reid, Camozzi, Barski, Cookson, Clarke, McKenzie ( Mills 80’), Sixsmith, McWilliams (Bembo-Leta 58’), Unwin (Ogundare 89’), Perry (Switters 58’), Parker. Sub not used: Causer

Yellow card: McWilliams (54’)

Goals: Northwich Vics: Parker (23’), Unwin (45+1’). Stourport Swifts: Lees (89’), Hanson (90+1)’

Next matches: December 23, league, away to Whitchurch Alport, 3pm; December 26, league, away v Congleton Town.