Saturday, October 24, 2009

Northwich Victoria manager Andy Preece praises defenders' contribution

Source: Northwich Guardian

6:52pm Saturday 24th October 2009

By Andrew Simpson

NORTHWICH Victoria’s resilience was the key to their victory over FC United of Manchester, according to Andy Preece.

The Vics boss told the Guardian that the hosts’ backline had proved to big a barrier to breach for their spirited guests.

“They were immense – a real rock for us,” he said of Vics’ defence.

“I felt there were times when we came under pressure but they stood firm.”

He paid special tribut to shot-stopper Curtis Aspden who, soon after Vics had taken the lead, stopped Jerome Wright’s goalbound effort.

The Rebels ran out of momentum afterwards, eventually losing 3-0.

“It was a massive moment when Curt makes the save to stop the shot,” admitted Preece.

“We switched off once and they had the quality to make a great opportunity. It’s a better save when you consider he’s had nothing to do for an hour before that.”

Indeed, the hosts fluffed three one-on-one chances with the visitors’ custodian Sam Ashton, two of those in the opening quarter hour.

Preece said: “We had a number of chances early on to get our noses in front.

“Their keeper did well and perhaps we did not finish as ruthlessly as we did. That meant we had to keep working hard to make chances.

“We got there in the end and I don’t think anybody can argue that we deserved our win, which is a big one.

“They came here in great form but all in all we restricted them to only one real chance – a great chance – but just the one.”

Vics’ extra quality told after the break following a turgid opening half.

Adam Tong put through is own goal trying to intercept Mark Danks’ clever cross to settle the outcome after Vics’ leading scorer had broke the deadlock from the penalty spot.

Sub Wayne Riley converted fellow replacement Jon Newby’s assist in stoppage time.

“I think we are very good when we have little bit more time on the ball,” said Preece.

“To be fair they didn’t give us any room to play in the first half but after the break we got hold of the ball more and were able to take control.

“That just opened them up a touch and in the end our extra quality told because we were able to get in front of goal more easier then they did.”

The game turned on referee David Coote’s choice to punish David Chadwick’s tackle on Lee Elam inside the penalty area on the hour.

The Rebels’ captain did not argue with the decision. Before that Elam had swapped passes with Jonny Allan to cut open the visitors’ fragile backline.

Danks scored his ninth goal in this season’s competition from the spot.

“The move to make the chance was great,” said Preece.

“If you slide in like that inside the box then you have to get the ball. It’s such a big decision as it could cost your team a place in the cup.

“Their guy put his hands on his head instead of protesting. I think that says everything.

“Mark Danks showed strength of character to step up though.

“He set up the second goal as well with a great ball across the penalty area and their defender could do nothing but turn it in.”

Vics’ reward is a place in tomorrow afternoon’s first round proper draw, due to be broadcast live on ITV 1.