Vics' kicked off the new Evo-Stik NPL Division One South season this afternoon with a 2-2 home draw Vs last season's play-off semi-finalists Basford United. Despite being in front twice in the game, and having more and better chances to score throughout; the Green and Whites' were unable to make it count with the visitors notching a last-gasp equaliser deep into stoppage time. Vics' took the lead six minutes into the second half when Yaw Gymiah swept into the net right-footed from eight yards out after front-man Dan Cockerline's cross from the right fell perfectly for him. Basford scrambled an equaliser on 57' through Kyle Dixon who poked home from six yards after a long ball forward deflected into his path. Vice-captain Alex Byrne put Vics' back in front on 80' with a fierce drive from 18 yards that took a slight deflection on it's way into the roof of the net but despite several decent chances being crafted by the Green and Whites' in the second period; a share of the spoils was ensured when a long punt from a free-kick evaded everyone and went into the Vics' net via Fabian Smith.


Saturday 13th August 2016. COMPETITION - Evo-Stik NPL Division One South. VENUE - The Net Dec Stadium, Northwich.


Vics' - Springthorpe, Byrne (C) (caution), Waldron (caution), Olopade, George Grayson, Brewster, Mudimu, Gray (caution) (Wigley 90'), Edwards (Hinchcliffe 84'), Gymiah, Cockerline (Clarke 88').  Un-used subs'- Hill (GK)


Basford United - Deeney (C), McNicholas, Bennett, Sheridan (Smith 76'), Darkin (caution), Rowley, Grantham (caution), Ash Grayson, Duffy (Hooton 21') (caution), Bopp (Walker 80'), Dixon.  Un-used subs' - Spears, Bertram.


GOALS - Vics' - Yaw Gymiah 51', Alex Byrne 80'.   Basford Utd - Kyle Dixon 57', Fabian Smith 90 + 2'.    Unavailable for Vics' - Matty Regan (Hamstring),  John Pritchard (away).


Manager Adam Lakeland's verdict on the 2-2 stalemate -

A frustrating afternoon, Adam. Leading twice and having the better chances in the game, a share of the points must be hard to take?


It is great to finally get up and running and back to the excitement and enjoyment of competitive football. We knew this was going to be a difficult first game against one of the strongest sides in the division last season. Being our first game in the southern league and with the number of changes to our squad throughout the summer, it was always going to be one in which we learnt a lot about the level of competition we are going to face this campaign and also about ourselves as well.

I would have to be be honest and say that Basford were the more dominant side first half, particularly the opening 30 minutes in terms of possession and territory, however we were reasonably organised and they didn’t create anything clear cut through this period. I felt we actually had the better chances of the half with their keeper making good saves from Reece Gray, Yaw Gymiah and Dan Cockerline and we should have had a penalty when Reece rounded a defender and was set to shoot from 16 yards before being caught by another Basford player. I think everyone in the ground was baffled when the referee gave Reece a yellow card for diving. Disappointingly for me, the referee also gave free-kicks against Alex Byrne and Yaw for diving which again I felt were clear fouls. I have a hardworking and honest group of players who play the game with the correct integrity so for the referee to penalise three of them for diving summed up his afternoon and performance overall.
In the second half we had more control of the game, we were better with the ball and I thought we were by far the superior side. Some of our play, movement and chances created were excellent and providing we continue to be brave and play with trust in one another we will only continue to improve these aspects of our game. We scored two good goals and had great opportunities at both 1-0 and 2-1 to clinch the points which we failed to take and this allowed Basford to stay in the game. I was extremely disappointed with the goals we conceded. The first one we were counter attacking and Tyler Edwards got smashed on the half-way line and as were breaking we perhaps lost our defensive stability a bit which allowed them to get in and score at the third attempt following a good save and block by Mason (Springthorpe).. If we counter and commit players then lose possession and get exploited then thats our own error for being sloppy with our play. However when a player is travelling at speed and gets caught by an opponent you trust the man in the middle to make the right decisions, this one went against us and cost us dearly. The second was disappointing in the sense that I felt us getting a bit anxious in the latter stages of the game and as a result dropped too deep which enabled them to put the ball into our box too many times. We should have worked harder to stop the cross being delivered, we should have stepped up when they threw the ball back 10 yards prior to the cross and we should have dealt with the cross better than we did. It was a poor goal to concede and doing so, so late almost feels like a defeat but I was satisfied with our overall performance and the effort from my team was outstanding.
We now go into another HOME game on Wednesday night against Romulus F.C who started with a 0-1 win away at Sheffield FC. Hopefully we can take the positives out of this performance and build on that second half display on Wednesday evening and look to add to the point earned in this game. 
Finally, on behalf of everyone at Northwich Victoria FC I would like to wish Basford striker Rob Duffy a speedy recovery. To suffer such a serious injury 20 minutes into the first game of the season is a real blow for any player and we wish him well in his recovery.


Up next for Vics' is a HOME Evo-Stik NPL Division One South fixture Vs Romulus F.C on Wednesday 17th August with kick-off at 19:45.


Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury.