Altrincham 1 Northwich Vics 2
VICS picked up three invaluable points, but more importantly scored a psychological edge over their neighbours and relegation rivals on Boxing Day.
The message is that Vics are improving rapidly, while Alty appear to be stuck in a rut.
But between them they produced a derby reminiscent of some memorable clashes of old, with commitment from both desperate sides being obvious.
So much so that passion ran over into bad temper in the 78th minute and Alty’s Chris Senior lifted a fist to Northwich’s Luke Horrocks who responded with a butt and both were deservedly red carded.
Given how much the Robins needed an equaliser and how Vics needed to hang on to victory they were both irresonsible.
Senior had been the man who set the goalmouth action in motion in the third minute when he crisply finished a chance presented to him by Mike Welch’s warward header.
But Vics accepted the challenge, dominated the remainder of the half and were in front by the break.
In the 17th minute Richard Battersby prompted Danny Williams forward and his cross was met by a Lucas Akins on the age of the box, the ball nestling in the bottom corner of the net.
With four minutes to go to half time Akins won a free kick just outside the penalty area and Ryan Brown scored with a left foot drive.
The second half contained a period of intense Altrincham pressure but Welch and Mike Carr, moved to centre back in the absence of the suspended Natt Kerr and Josh Wilson, stood firm.
And Northwich got a little luck when they needed it, Colin Little’s excellent shot smacking against the crossbar.
NORTHWICH: Tynan; Battersby, Carr, Welch, Brown; Williams, Rusk, Byrne, Horrocks; Akins, Farquaharson (Morning 80).