Northwich Vics 2 Crawley Town 0
IT was one down two to go for Vics at the Marston’s Arena on Saturday.
They needed to beat Crawley and now must do the same to relegation rivals Weymouth on Tuesday and Farsley on Saturday to shorten the odds on survival.
Vics did the job thanks to two goals in two minutes in the second half, which was far more entertaining than the first.
Once two in front they struggled to contain Crawley, who suddenly found their footballing boots just as the referee momentarily lost use of his whistle.
In the 68th minute Kevin James whacked a shot against the underside of the bar and the ball bounced down and, er, over the line.
But no flag from the assistant nor whistle from the referee came.
Vics defenders had frozen momentarily, suggesting they knew the ball was in.
Danny Meadowcroft then reacted and in his panic hacked the ball straight at goalkeeper Scott Tynan, before recovering his composure and making sure their stroke of luck held.
The opening period was poor fare, though Ryan Brown and Lee Steele did test Ashley Bayes and Scott Tynan saved Danny Bulman’s free kick.
Crawley were too eager to hit their front men, whose pace and skills unsettled Vics defence.
But in the 52nd minute Jamie Mullan skipped past Bulman’s and delivered a low cross for Darryn Stamp punished some poor marked and turned the ball into the net.
Steele then found Crawley’s concentration had not recovered, scuttling on to Stamp’s pass and beating Bayes in the same bottom corner.
Vics were mindful they no longer had to win the game, only stop Crawley rallying. Mustapha Carayol’s slack finishing and a no-goal goal helped them along the way. But they were not trouble in the last 25 minutes. Job done. Or at least a third of it.
Vics: Tynan; Meadowcroft, Welch, Belle; Byrne (Crowell 71), Carr (Mullan 45), Wilson, Byrom, Brown; Steele (Burns 87), Stamp.