1874 Northwich's play-offs hopes are fading after a home loss to Runcorn Linnets in a dour affair.

Fifth-place Linnets have opened up a 10-point gap on 1874 in Northern Premier League West after beating them 1-0 at Townfield thanks to a first goal in Linnets colours by former Northwich Victoria midfielder Matty Birchall.

The goal, scored in the 41st minute, earned Linnets a first away win since December 3.

1874 handed appearances to new loan signings Reece Daly and Ben Collins off the bench.

Midfielder Daly, 18, has joined from Chester while full-back Ben Collins has arrived from Salford City, both until the end of the season.

1874's next outing is at home against table toppers Macclesfield next Saturday.

Witton Albion stay in touch with the top five thanks to a 1-0 home success against Colne in a game of few chances.

Half-time substitute Harry McGhee scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 87th minute.

For McGhee, who signed for Witton from FC United of Manchester last summer, it was his sixth goal in 27 appearances.

Ollie Putnam, who rejoined Witton in midweek, contributed off the bench in a win which keeps Albion seventh with a game in hand on the clubs above them.

They are scheduled to host Bootle on Tuesday.

Northwich Victoria returned to winning ways at home against Barnoldswick Town in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

Vics saw off visitors with only one league win to their name this year with goals courtesy of Damola Sotona and Kuda Chingwaro.

The latter had the ball in the net after 36 minutes but his effort was ruled out for offside.

But shortly before half time Sotona slammed home a half volley.

Town gave proof that one goal might not be enough for Vics when they rattled the crossbar with an effort from distance in the 61st minute.

The game was put to bed with a sensational 35-yard volley from Chingwaro to keep Vics fourth on the ladder ahead of next Saturday's trip to Bury AFC.

Winsford United drew 2-2 at Longridge Town in a contest at the bottom end of the ladder.

They will feel gutted to have thrown points away, having led 2-0 until the 89th minute.

Strikes by Daniel Boden (9mins penalty) and Jack Hart (78) put them in charge but Jack Arrowsmith (89) and Ben Finley (90+4) rescued a point for the hosts.

Blues return to action at Litherland REMYCA on Wednesday, when Barnton will also be in action at home to Ashville.