NORTHWICH were too cavalier in their approach but there was a lot to be positive about in a 27-10 defeat at Stockport.

Sam Patterson, back in the fold, Eon Du Preez and Patrick Douglas all made big contributions to a side that showed true spirit.

With so many players on the injury list, head coach Sam Naylor was also pleased to welcome back skipper Rory Leijdekkers and Joe Christian.

But Blacks, who have found life tough this season, continue to struggle to develop any continuity.

They began well, setting a fast tempo to proceedings, but Stockport weathered the storm and mounted a sustained attack creating multiple phases before moving the ball wide for a try in the corner.

A pattern was set with Stockport holding the ball well and Northwich organised in defence.

After a period of pressure Northwich were awarded a goal-line drop out.

The ball was returned by Stockport in fine style and with the half drawing to a close they scored an unconverted try which took the wind out of the visitors’ sails.

A big blow came within five minutes of the re-start.

Following some quick handling a third unconverted Stockport try was scored.

Two minutes later the smile returned to the faces of the faithful.

Man-of-the-match Leijdekkers made a decisive break. He shrugged off defenders to set up a ruck close to the Stockport line, the ball was recycled and moved wide for Zac Richardson to cross.

There was still plenty to play for when 10 minutes later Richard Dale was shown the yellow card much to the surprise of the travelling support.

From the ensuing penalty Stockport opted for a scrum and launched an attack.

Taking full advantage of the extra man, they scored a bonus-point try.

Once again, the extras went begging but the result was becoming inevitable.

Five minutes later the home side scored a fifth try and with the extras added the writing was on the wall for Blacks.

Nevertheless, Northwich continued to look for a way to break through the Stockport defence.

They were awarded a penalty close to the Stockport line and a quick tap provided the tireless Joe Christian with the opportunity to score a well-deserved try.

Blacks continued to press but the Stockport defence held firm.

Northwich entertain Manchester on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.

Northwich (15-9, 1-8): Taylor Haugh, Tom Husbands, Boitumelo Tsatsane, Logan Mitchell, Austin Fernandez, Zac Richardson, Harry Naylor, Callum Hulbert, Eon Du Preez, Rory Leijdekkers, Sam Patterson, Patrich Douglas, Aaron Collins, Joe Christian, Richard Dale. Replacements: Anthony Keller, Charlie Bancroft, Jonny Pym.