AFTER 80 minutes at Moss Farm, the visitors hadn’t scored.

That there was still enough time for them to win, and with it complete a league double over their stunned hosts, made Northwich supporters wince.

It’s an unfamiliar sensation.

Blacks have lost successive matches in North One West for the first time this season and, for now at least, have slipped from a promotion play-off position.

They made three changes, all enforced, to a side that had started at Blackburn seven days earlier with Callum Hulbert, Dave Farley and James Underhill ruled out.

Newcomer Patrick Fray made a first start at number eight, with Richard Dale restored to outside centre.

Defences dominated the opening period, and only Nick Baldwin’s penalty kick for the hosts separated the sides by the break.

Northwich added to their advantage shortly afterwards when an opponent dropped the ball from the restart.

The home team moved the ball wide following an attacking scrum, and wing James Montgomery joined the line at speed to make a decisive break for the line.

Baldwin converted, and a second penalty of the contest – awarded when the visitors were punished for a high-tackle – from his next involvement established a 13-0 lead.

Martin Poste’s men appeared to cede the initiative from that moment on, and Manchester controlled possession and territory for most of the remaining minutes.

It looked as if their efforts would be in vain though.

However a scrum close to the Northwich line allowed them to put the squeeze on a final time to claim a close-range try that was converted.

Blacks were still favourites, only for a late tackle following a clearance kick to gift their guests another opportunity.

They took it, and from an attacking lineout drove over a second try.

The extras sealed the home team’s fate.

Northwich Ridgway, Lapniewski, King, Heywood, Dudley, English, Balshaw, Fray, Poste, Baldwin, Montgomery, Reilly, Richard Dale, Skinkis, Barber Replacements Dean, Thompson, Harrison Try Montgomery Con Baldwin Pens Baldwin (2)

Additional reporting by Steve Wood