NORTHWICH secured their fourth successive victory and, as the last remaining unbeaten side, sit proudly on top of the Euromanx South Lancs and Cheshire League after Saturday's hard-fought victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Wirral at Moss Farm.
But having not hit the fluency of the previous three weeks, they found themselves trailing at half-time.
Coaches Mike Penny and Townsend made changes at the break, Adam Bown replacing injured fullback Chaz Wood, and they kick-started the forwards with the introduction of David Harvey for Dave Farley and switching Chris Hey-wood to his preferred second row position. It worked.
Though they had dominated the first half, the only score was a drop goal from classy stand off Chris Harvey against the run of play.
Northwich found it difficult to get into the groove and although Sam Naylor just missed out on chasing down the ball for a try and Gary Bell shaved the posts with a long-range penalty attempt, the home side never quite kept their shape.
But after the interval re-think the Moss Farm pack gradually ground down their Wirral counterparts.
After Bell had pulled the scores level, Northwich were rewarded with a penalty try when the opposition front row stood up and prevented number eight Graham Robinson from scoring a push over try. Bell converted and following further pressure kicked two penalties.
At 16-3 with 10 minutes left, Northwich relaxed and from deep within their own half Wirral winger Ali Baker picked up a loose lineout ball and showed a clean pair of heels to outpace the North-wich defence to score between the sticks. Harvey converted to give his team an outside chance of stealing a late victory.
But Northwich kept their cool to secure a deserved victory.
Northwich are at Older-shaw on Saturday.
Their 2nds lost 23-17 at Caldy and the 3rds won 19-11 at Bowdon.