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Northwich Victoria
Hanley Town
Sat 23 Dec 15:00 - Hallmark Security North West Counties Football League - Premier Division Full time Attendance 108

Northwich Victoria FC v Hanley Town 23rd December 2017 League

Northwich Victoria FC v Hanley Town 23rd December 2017 League

We almost threw it away.
But Vics' found a way to win in the most thrilling circumstances and with two unlikely heroes as their saviour.
Substitute Oliver Walker stayed calm to score a stoppage-time winner, while teenage goalkeeper Aiden Whitehead impressed on his debut.
Manager Steve Wilkes hailed them both after his side stopped a three-match losing run by beating opponents with an eye on being promoted this season.
He said: “I’m made up for Olly.
“He’s been out injured for a while and had to be patient once he was fit again, and he showed fantastic composure to put the ball in the back of the net late on.
“Aiden is only 18 and has never played at this level, but he made two brilliant saves at a crucial moment in the game.”
Brian Matthews’ header deflected slightly off a defender, after Adam Lawrence had flicked on at a corner, to put Vics in front on six minutes.
And they doubled their lead shortly before the break when Johnny Gorman lifted the ball over goalkeeper Alex Langridge after Liam Bickett’s pass dissected the visitors’ defence.
The hosts suffered a blow when Kieron Kenny left the field with an injury early in the second-half and captain John Bennett departed too after being taken ill.
Theo Stair then halved Hanley’s arrears when he prodded in from close-range after Whitehead had parried substitute Christoph Aziamale’s shot.
And it was 2-2 four minutes later when Stair swivelled before shooting low into the net from the edge of the six-yard box.
Matthews prompted Langridge to save following Gorman’s assist, and the visitors’ custodian produced his best shortly afterwards to deny Northwich’s leading-scorer and then Walker in quick succession.
Brandon Barski smuggled Aziamele’s shot off the line during an absorbing finale before Gorman’s free-kick struck the woodwork.
Langridge blocked Matthews’ follow-up attempt, then Josh Thorpe diverted Oscar Durnin’s shot to safety.
Walker settled the outcome in the second minute of injury-time, switching the ball from one foot to another before blasting past Langridge after Matthews had teed him up.
Wilkes added: “The lads deserve a pat on the back; they kept going, and never stopped trying to get the winner.
“If it wasn’t for two unbelievable saves by their goalkeeper, then we’d have won more comfortably.
“It was a great win in difficult circumstances, particularly as the pitch deteriorated as the game went on.”

Full interview with Vics' boss Steve Wilkes' - A great win today, once again in difficult circumstances. The pitch deteriorated as the game went on, at 2-0 up I thought the referee was going to call it off due to the fog and then to lose Kieron Kenny through injury and John Bennett through illness saw Hanley pull it back to 2-2. The lads though deserve a huge pat on the back as the never stopped trying to get the winner, and if it wasn't for 2 unbelievable saves from the Hanley keeper we have won the game more comfortable. The goal that we scored to win it was a great team goal and I'm pleased for Olly Walker who's been out injured for a while and been very patient on his return, he showed fantastic composure to put the ball in the back of the net. I'd also like to give a special mention to Aiden Whitehead the young keeper we signed on loan from Bamber Bridge last week. Aiden's only 18 and has never played football at this level before, but made two brilliant saves at crucial times in the game. I'm pleased for the supporters also, as you could see when we scored the winner, the scenes were something myself and the players won't forget for a long time. On a personal note I'd like to thank everyone for their cards, messages and to all those at the game yesterday that respected the minutes silence for my sister who passed away last Saturday, it really was appreciated.

My M.O.M is difficult after a great team performance but I think Liam Bickett took on board what we said to him in training this week, and his slide rule pass to Jonny Gorman for the second goal just gives him the edge.

Vics' | Whitehead (D) Grant (Walker 79), Lawrence, Barski, Kenny (Clarke 55), Johnson, Bennett (Willis 60), Gorman, Bickett, Durnin, Matthews. Sub not used Shinks. Goals Matthews 6' Gorman 48', Walker 90 + 2'.

*D* - denotes debut.
No cautions for Vics'.

Unavailable for Vics'
- Yaw Gymiah (suspension), Allen Weston (jaw), Jason Hart (groin), Sam Fitton (away)

Hanley | Langridge (GK), Faulkner, Price, Thorpe, Bristow (Sheldon 20), Blowers, Skellern, Conlon, Thompson, Stair, Donaldson (Aziamale 51). Subs' not used Cawley, Grice, Morton. Goals Stair 61' 65'. Booked Thorpe, Price.

Attendance 108.

Up next for Vics' is Barnton FC (A) on Boxing Day, league game. 15:00 K.O

Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury.

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Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

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# Team Pl Pts
11. Squires Gate 44 64
12. Ashton Athletic 44 62
13. Northwich Victoria 45 59
14. Irlam 44 59
15. Winsford Utd 44 58
16. Congleton Town 44 56
17. Padiham 44 53

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