Northwich Victoria 2-4 Cheadle Town, NetDec Stadium, (20/08/2016)
Competition: FA Cup Preliminary Round
Admission Price: £9
Programme & Team Sheet: £2
A few weeks ago I’d made the trip to the same ground to watch Witton Albion in pre season action, but my second visit to the NetDec was to see Northwich Victoria. I was left with little choice on Saturday afternoon as I had to keep it local, and I wanted to make sure that I was able to take in an FA Cup tie.
This is the second season that Northwich find themselves renting Wincham Park from their fierce rivals Witton Albion. I won’t go into how or why the Vics find themselves in this position (I’d be here all night), but in short it is travesty to see a non league giant in this predicament.
The ground is a short ten minute drive from my house and I was able to make my way in good time and was able to park up directly outside the entrance.
Wincham Park is an impressive stadium for football at this level, the facilities are second to none and as I discussed in my last visit the ground could easily accommodate higher level football.
My main issue with Northwich as a club today is that they are playing in a ground that is far too big to accommodate the number of fans they get in through the gates. As a result there is virtually no atmosphere.
As the game went on I took up a seat in the main stand amongst the travelling Cheadle fans so I could at least sample some atmosphere. Attempts have been made to try and increase the gate numbers I honestly don’t know what their best option is. On the face of it, it doesn’t look as if the locals are ever going to return in their numbers, just like the old days.
I’m a football romantic I genuinely hope that the relationship between the club and the people of Northwich can be fixed somehow, for now at least it’s great to see them back playing in the area.
Last season saw Northwich Victoria fall just short of reaching the third round of the FA Cup with a late defeat away at Northampton. During their cup run the Vics won more cup ties than any other team in the competition (apart from eventual winners Manchester United).
Their first cup game of the 2016/17 season saw them take on Cheadle Town in what was the first cup meeting between the two teams. Despite a slow start to their league campaign, sitting two leagues higher in the non league pyramid, Northwich entered the game as strong favourites. They started strongly with Daniel Cockerline heading home from a fine cross from captain Alex Byrne.
The equaliser for Cheadle came against the run of play with Liam Tounge playing the impressive Sam Noar who finished emphatically past Mason Springthorpe. The goal changed the game totally as Northwich continually made basic errors, which allowed their visitors to grow in confidence.
Cheadle took the lead before the break with Michael Sherrington forcing his way trhough the Vics defence to give his side a deserved lead.
The second half saw Northwich control the game with long periods of possession but each move broke down at crucial points. In turn Cheadle were more than happy to soak up pressure and were a constant threat on the counter, Sherrington was able to get his second and his teams third of the game on the hour, after great work from his brother Chris. z
Northwich continued to throw everything at their hosts but Cheadle remained strong and their front line offered the perfect outlet to relieve pressure.
The final nail in the coffin for the Vics came from substitute Thabiso Magida as he finished smartly, the goal sparked wild celebrations from the visitors as they realised they’d achieved a genuine giant killing.
Northwich did get a late consolation penalty but in truth the scoreline didn’t matter, Cheadle were outstanding on the day and this will go down as one of their greatest cup victories.
Their reward is a trip to Trafford in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup as they go in search of another giant killing on the road.
Match Rating: 7/10, a good cup tie always nice to see the underdog come out on top.
Man of the Match: Michael Sherrington, brilliant performance linked up perfectly with the midfield and tormented the Northwich backline throughout the contest.