Power and Fiore punish Victoria

Northwich Victoria

Northwich Victoria

Slough Town

Slough Town

Fiore (10), Clement (0-2, 85)
League Attendance: 634 Mark Fiore
The humiliating 6-2 defeat against Stevenage was consigned to the archives as the Rebels' travels brought them another richly-deserved three points on Saturday.

Andy Clement found the net twice and Mark Fiore once as one of the Conference's dodgiest defences was confidently breached in a polished display which leaves the side comfortably adrift of the relegation zone.

Nobody merits the glory more than Clement, tireless in midfield but rarely a headline-grabber - Fiore too retained his endearing modesty as he shunned all celebrations of his 10th minute opener to jog quietly back for kick-off.

Ben Miles took the plaudits as well, for stopping every counter-attack Northwich came up with - this was very much a team performance characteristic of the fire and commitment shown on the road this season, and left manager Brian McDermott full of praise.

The hosts' back-line, aged and crumbling visibly, was never going to last long against an all-out assault. A fourth minute mistake from Abel let Cliff Hercules in, but Greygoose tipped his shot over his head and onto the erossbar; Neil Catlin struck the woodwork too as he thunderbolted one in from the edge of the area.

Then the no-nonsense Barry Rake (surprisingly substituted early in the second half for the less mobile Garfield Blackman) sprinted back on field after picking up a tissue for a nose injury, provided the overlap for a Mark West ball and let fly as he charged into the area. The 'keeper looped the ball over his head and Fiore touched it in on the line.

West and Hercules kept it tight upfront and then broke quickly, exposing their opponents' slugishness. The width was superb, and Rake in particular had a buzz about him that marked him out from the crowd.

Miles too made all the right moves - a helpful linesman kept most of the traffic one-way, but when Lee Harvey was put under pressure his clearances were occasionally slow. Humphreys caught him out on 20 minutes and slipped the ball through for Williams, but the young 'keeper stopped him with swinging feet.

When he came out later it was less advisable, but though Williams rounded him, Alan Paris' header diffused the danger and Vicary also shot wide when he should have done better. When Williams flicked over Kenny Sansom's head, Miles parried Humphrey's shot; he didn't look likely to be beaten.

The Vics' frustration spilled over into some silly challenges: the Rebels kept their cool, suffered in silence and added another two courtesy of their workmanlike midfielder.

Blackman's break on the right allowed Paris to hold off two defenders before slipping the ball to Clement in the area and he flighted it perfectly into the corner. He took the second on 85 minutes, after Fiore had surprised Simpson with a nutmeg. West dummied his cross-field ball and allowed Clement to charge in on the blindside with a 25-yard blast past Greygoose's reach.

It was no more than was asked for and well carried out, and leaves a reassuring gap between Slough and the drop. Within two weeks they can he almost certain of staying up, but then the Rebels and consistency have always been uncomfortable bedfellows - three wins and three defeats in the past six games have continued that fine tradition.

McDermott, meanwhile, was delighted with the way his side had managed to forget their previous worries and explained how they had regrouped. "On Thursday night we had a meeting and discussed it all - we knew we had let everyone down against Stevenage. We could have won that game and I don't think the players realised it. They're only just starting to realise how good they are. Last Saturday, I think we played them off the park for the first 20 minutes and then soaked up the pressure very well when they came back."

Northwich Victoria Lineup


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