AND so the run continues.

Jay Hart’s goal, a swift reply to Harry Thompson’s strike raising the visitors’ hopes, ensured Northwich Victoria won a fifth successive league game on Saturday.

The in-form forward has now scored in every game since switching from Padiham last month.

While Barlick were wasteful, Vics were not.

The teams traded early chances when Mark Threlfall, for the visitors, and Adam Lawrence both sent attempts over the crossbar.

Allen Weston then denied Zack Dale in shooting stride with a perfectly-timed intervention before the hosts took the lead against the run of play.

Hart swapped passes with Brian Matthews, then shuffled the ball out wide to Oscar Durnin.

Still with work to do, he cut inside two defenders before firing low past goalkeeper Connor King.

The visitors rallied, and Northwich custodian Mike Donlon reacted smartly to stop Ben Gorman’s close-range snapshot.

They escaped again before the break, this time when Ian Willis diverted Threlfall’s hooked attempt onto the crossbar with a header.

Sam Fitton should have doubled Vics’ lead in the second-half, only to shoot straight at King after being sent clear by Durnin’s pass.

Hart’s next effort appeared destined for the top corner before King clawed it to safety, while at the other end Andrew Hill’s header dropped wide from a corner.

Vics landed another blow when Matthews made it 2-0 after wriggling away from a pair of opponents before dispatching a shot that King got a hand on but could not keep out.

Barlick’s goal arrived on 77 minutes when Thompson stabbed in sub Joel Melia’s cross from inside the six-yard box.

They then missed a sitter, Matt Cavanagh failing to even hit the target with only Donlon in front of him after replacement Jake Townsend had teed him up.

Hart showed him how it should be done, staying composed to roll in a decisive goal following a swift counter-attack.

Vics | Donlon (GK), Grant, Lawrence, Weston, Johnson, Willis, Fitton, Johnny Gorman (Bennett 89), Durnin (Bickett 72), Matthews (Gyimah 87), Hart Subs not used Shaw, McDonnell Goals Durnin 20, Matthews 69, Hart 80 Booked Hart

Barlick | King (GK), Blades, Lloyd (Townsend 81), Airey, Crorken, Cavanagh, Dale (Melia 77), Hill, Threlfall, Thompson, Ben Gorman (Hollindrake 81) Subs not used Yates, Simpson Goal Thompson 77 Booked Airey, Threlfall

Attendance 71

Match report by Jamie Dewsbury