Vics' returned to winning ways this afternoon with a five-goal thumping of visiting Prescot Cables F.C.   


Saturday 2nd April 2016. COMPETITION - Evo-Stik NPL Division One North. VENUE - The Net Dec Stadium, Northwich


LINE-UP'S - Vics'  - Springthorpe, Byrne, Clarke (C), Regan, Duxbury, Cook, Summerskill, Ball, Toner (Roddy 73'), Amis (Bennett 69'), Burnett (Gyimah 73').  Un-used subs' - Howard, Watson.


Prescot Cables F.C - Burke, Jones, Flood (McCulloch 5'), Shinks (Grundy 69'), O'Reilly (C), Duke, Nicholson, Grainger, Doran, Scarisbrick, Edgar.  Un-used subs' - Dean, Bannister, Nicholson.


GOALS - Vics' - Stuart Cook 12', Scott Duxbury 17', Jimmy Ball 61', Gary Burnett 67', Mike Clarke 72' (Pen).  Prescot Cables F.C - Rob Doran 41', James Edgar 82'.

No bookings or red cards for either team.  Unavailable for Vics'Abou Sanogo (groin strain)


Vics' started this crucial Evo-Stik NPL Division One North fixture brightly and signalled their intent early to get back to winning ways. On 9' a typical right-wing raid by Vics' full-back Alex Byrne saw him reach the far touch-line and his cross to the near post picked out Brian Summerskill who sent a deft glancing header from seven yards just wide of Cables' far post with keeper' James Burke in no-mans land. Three minutes later, Vics' took the lead that their fast start deserved when Stuart Cook struck with a left-foot angled drive that went underneath exposed Cables' keeper' James Burke from eight yards out. Cables' were now struggling to get out of their own half and it was no surprise when the Green and Whites' lead was doubled on 17', left-back Scott Duxbury hitting the back of the net with a left-foot looping shot from 18 yards that took a slight deflection on its way in off defender Anthony Shinks. On 22' Jimmy Balls' excellent chipped cross picked out the lurking Gary Burnett six yards out and his header was firm and true; beating glove-man James Burke - but not the cross-bar - the ball rebounded to safety luckily for Cables'. Cables' first attempt arrived on 29', James Edgar's header landing just wide of Vics' keeper' Mason Springthorpes' far post from hit-man Rob Doran's deep right-wing cross. Cables' best spell now followed and Springthorpe had to pull off a top-draw save to beat away Connor Graingers' long-range right-foot drive at full stretch on 37'; shortly before they did find the net on 41' - Rob Doran making no mistake from twenty yards with a searing right-foot free-kick that Springthorpe had no chance of saving.


PICTURED - Vics' skipper' Mike Clarke hammers in a penalty for the Green and Whites' final goal of the game and increasing his personal tally for the season to eight strikes.

Mike Clarke Prescot 16

HALF-TIME - Vics' 2-1 Prescot Cables F.C.


Vics' began the second half much like they had the first - on 52' game-star Alex Byrne rattled the cross-bar with a speculative half-volley from just inside the box and Cables' centre-back Jonah O'Reilly managed to boot the loose ball to safety. On 56' Gary Burnett saw his right-foot rising drive from eighteen yards acrobatically finger-tipped over by Cables' keeper' James Burke; it was an outstanding save. The relentless pressure told five minutes later on 61' when Jimmy Ball fired a low shot past Burke from seven yards after Gary Burnett's neat pirouette and lay-off into the midfielder's path; Eddie Toner sending over a delightful ball into the danger zone in the initial build-up. Gary Burnett then scored on 67' with a delightful right-foot lob over James Burke from the edge of the box as Vics' were now in complete control. The Green and Whites' nap-hand was complete on 72' when skipper' Mike Clarke hammered high into the roof of the right-hand corner of the net from the penalty spot - sending the glove-man the wrong way after sub' Richie Bennett had been cynically upended by sub' defender James McCulloch. Vics' then enjoyed the last quarter of the game knowing that an important three points were secure - but Cables' had the last word on 82'; James Edgar scoring with a low shot from just inside the box after being left un-marked by the Vics' rear-guard.


Vics' M.O.M - Alex Byrne. Defensively solid through-out and a constant threat down the right with his crossing and distrbution. In fine form these last few weeks despite some in-different results.


Game-star Alex Byrne's reaction to the emphatic win -

A welcome return to form and a good win, Alex - hopefully we can now build on this; have a solid platform and ensure a play-off place.

Yes Jamie, it's a huge relief to get back to winning ways and in very good fashion too. It was good to see us score a couple of goals after we've had a bit of bad luck in front of goal - I think we hit a bad patch the last couple of weeks which every team goes through but hopefully this is a sign of things to come and we've shaken it off just in time for the final push going into the play-offs.


Vics' Manager Adam Lakeland's verdict on the welcome return to winning ways -

A huge relief, Adam. A massively important win and a very good performance; which included some great football played and good habits back on show - which is what this group of players are capable of.


The most important thing today was that we got back to winning ways and took all three points. I was pleased for the players and the supporters that we won this game as we haven’t had much to celebrate in recent weeks and I hope that everyone enjoyed the performance. 
I thought we were excellent in the opening 25 minutes with the willingness and honesty of our strikers Gaz (Burnett) and Josh (Amis) causing Prescot a lot of problems. We scored two good goals in this period through Cookie (Stu Cook) and Scott (Duxbury) with us also hitting the bar and seeing their keeper make a couple of good saves. Our midfielders were getting on the ball much more than they have in recent fixtures, with Cookie in particular enjoying plenty of possession and we were completely in control and dictating the tempo of the game. I felt we became a bit sloppy after this spell and didn’t retain the ball well enough which resulted in us losing control allowing Prescot back into the game. Rob Doran scored a great free-kick which gave Mason (Springthorpe) no chance and I think we lost a bit of composure when they pegged us back which was probably a bit of nerves following recent results. 
At half time we re-grouped, spoke about how we had played in the first part of the game, how we had lost control leading up to the break and how we could get it back in the second half. I was pleased with the players attitude and response in the second period and once we got the third goal everyone settled down and the lads looked to be playing with more confidence and freedom which was great to see. Some of the goals we scored today and the football we played was fantastic in spells and for us now moving forwards its a case of sustaining this for longer periods in games. I was delighted that Gary Burnett got a goal. He has worked his socks off for us week-in week-out and not got much in return so to get on the score-sheet today will do him the world of good and hopefully he can go on a run now which could come at a vital time for the team.
We now move onto a difficult game on Tuesday night away at Mossley which is never an easy place to go. It will be a fiercely contested encounter against a physical side and we have to be ready to deal with this if we are to get another valuable three points.
With Iain Howard back in contention after his calf problem to start on Tuesday night we are almost back to full strength with only Abou Sanogo (groin) unavailable; giving us excellent competition for places and strength in depth for the run-in.
Match report & interviews by Jamie Dewsbury.