Pete Tonge provides a verdict on the cup semi-final, from a Vics fan’s perspective...

A BRACE from Sam Unwin and a late clincher from Callum Parker saw a deserved victory for the Originals against higher league opposition in 1874 Northwich.

Vics started at a higher pace than 1874, and Unwin showed a sign of things to come as early as the 4th minute when he raced past his full-back and delivered a low ball across the middle of the box, but there was no Vics player there to give it the finish it deserved.

Just 3 minutes later, it was Unwin again who escaped down the wing and dinked the ball across for it to be cleared for a corner.

1874 had their first real effort in the 16th minute as Jamie Nicholson hit a rasping shot which Adam Reid in the Vics’ net did well to tip over the bar.

In fairness, the first half was a bit scrappy but Vics were looking like the better team but not quite finding the final ball.

Daryl Switters sent a half volley wide after 34 minutes and 4 minutes later, he expertly sent Unwin in on goal but his shot was over the bar.

1874 were being restricted to a few corners and Vics were continuously pressing them whenever they had the ball but the teams went in at half time goalless. Would Vics pay for their inability to take their chances?

Vics thought they had scored early in the second half as Marcus Perry was sent through on goal, and slid a shot past the keeper which looked every inch a goal but slipped agonisingly inches past the post.

However, Vics were on the up, and weren’t to be denied as Unwin stole the ball off the hesitant 1874 defence, advanced against the keeper and calmly slid the ball into the net to give the Vics the lead.

Things got even better for Vics in the 60th minute as the industrious Niall Sultan found Unwin free of the defence again and he expertly beat the keeper for his and Vics’ second of the night.

Vics kept pressing and were unlucky not to go three up in the 67th minute as some last ditch defending by 1874 kept out shots from first Sultan, then Unwin and finally Switters as the ball ricocheted around the box in a frantic 30 seconds of action.

1874 finally started gaining possession of the ball a bit more as Vics defended slightly deeper and the pressure told as Jones fired in a shot on the angle from 18 yards to put 1874 back in the match.

Vics were starting to show a few nerves as 1874 kept the pressure up but they defended well and 1874 failed to create any worthwhile chances, with Adam Reid only having to deal with one long range shot which he easily saved.

Vics were always looking to break quickly and killed the match off in the second minute of added on time as Sultan was played through and unselfishly passed the ball across to Callum Parker who sidestepped his man and fired past the keeper to send the mass of Vics fans behind the goal into raptures as they celebrated with the players.

A well deserved victory for the Vics who showed more desire and commitment than 1874 and three good finishes sealed their passage into a final against Witton Albion.

Match facts:

1874 Northwich 1 Northwich Victoria 3

Mid Cheshire Cup semi final, Tuesday 9th January 2024

At Townfield,  Barnton FC

Vics: Reid, Camozzi,, Ogundare, Barski, Clarke, Perry (Parker 80’), McWilliams, Grindrod (Farmer 80’), Switters, Unwin, Sultan. Sub not used : Southwick-Williams, Langford, Causer

Goals: 1874:  Jones 73’. Vics: Unwin 53’, 60’, Parker 90+2’

Next match: January 13, away v AFC Wulfrunians, Midland Premier League, 3pm