They left it late, but secured a WIN
Never leave early!!!
SPECTATORS should never head home early when Northwich are playing.
The outcome was decided only in the closing stages for a third successive game, and Nick Baldwin’s successful penalty kick preceded the referee’s final whistle at Moss Farm on Saturday. For an hour, Blacks appeared on course to suffer back-to-back home defeats for the first time in almost three-and-a-half years.
That they didn’t is due largely to their dogged resilience. Joel Barber scored both of their tries, the other points coming from Baldwin’s right boot. When they rely on him, he rarely fails to deliver.
The contest was again switched to a pitch behind the former pool building, and Martin Poste’s men have played only once on the first-team’s field - still with unresolved drainage problems - in the past three months. They were also forced by absences to field a much-altered side with five changes to the one that had prevailed away to Carlisle a fortnight earlier. Zach Jackson, a former Northwich colt, made his first-team debut on the wing while Joel Barber switched from full-back to outside centre after James Underhill failed a fitness test.
They were greeted by determined guests that had won their previous two matches to raise hopes they can avoid relegation at the end of the season. Indeed, the visitors led 14-0 after half-an-hour as a reward for scoring two converted tries. They played for half of the opening period with a numerical advantage after Martin Balshaw (striking an opponent) and Jonny English (not rolling away) both spent time in the sin-bin. The former returned to the fray at the exact moment his teammate left it.
Blacks struggled to create openings, although Barber darted through the narrowest of gaps in the Altrincham defence on 36 minutes after his teammates moved the ball quickly from right to left from an attacking scrum. Baldwin duly added the extras. Dave Coleman landed a penalty to make it 17-7, only for Baldwin responded in kind before the interval.
A gap between the teams closed further when he slotted a second three-pointer following a quarter-hour of action after the break. As Altrincham had done earlier, Northwich then exploited a numerical advantage after an opponent was shown a yellow card. Barber again timed his arrival into the attack perfectly, dotting down after a trademark burst to the line. Baldwin’s extras put the hosts in front for the first time at 20-17. Coleman restored parity shortly afterwards with a penalty, another act in an impressive individual performance.
However the visitors, attempting desperately to resist growing pressure, infringed regularly in the closing stages. It proved costly, and Baldwin needed no second invitation to strike cleanly between the posts with a close contest’s final touch.
Northwich | Ridgway, Lapniewski, King, Farley, Dudley, Heywood, English, Balshaw, Poste, Baldwin, Jackson, Reilly, Barber, Skinkis, Du Randt Replacements Thompson, Keller Tries Barber (2) Cons Baldwin (2) Pens Baldwin (3)