Eagle Sports closed the gap on second place Linotype CHN to two points as they now sit level on the number of games played. A late own goal in their fixture at Sandbach saw Eagle win 1-0 as they continued their run of form to keep up the pressure in the title race.
Crewe secured another win as they beat sixth place Whaley Bridge 3-2 after going in 2-0 up at half time. Simon Everall increased his tally to 15 goals in five games while Lucasz Synowicz and Ian Carr also hit home for Crewe.
Rudheath Social made it two wins on the bounce as they finished 3-2 winners at home against Rylands. Those three points move the Northwich side up to 12th and further away from the drop zone as they still have two games in hand over 11th place Gamesley.
Greenalls PSO find themselves in a relegation battle as a 2-1 defeat away at Garswood United leaves them only a point ahead of 15th place Billinge having now played the same number of games. Danny Clarke and Mike Winer scored the goals for Garswood who remain in 7th.
Malpas secured promotion to the premier division next season after beating local rivals Tarporley Victoria 2-1 at home. Malpas found themselves playing up hill first half which was the first time this season and Tarporley made it clear they had come to spoil the party as they worked hard, closing Malpas down and giving them no time to get the ball down and play. The game came to life when a clearance from home keeper Conner Tinsley came back off Carl Smith to give Tarporley the lead after 21 minutes.
Steve Watkins saw an overhead kick pushed over the bar as Malpas pressed to get level on the half hour mark. Malpas got the breakthrough when a passing move saw Peter Williams receive the ball twenty five yards out and unleash an unstoppable shot past the keeper to level the scores with 40 minutes played.
Malpas secured the points in the 49th minute when a foul just outside the box saw Alex Hughes fire in a free kick which Tarporley keeper could not hold, leaving Richard Sadler to poke home for 2-1.
Middlewich Town moved up to fourth place after beating Penlake in a hard fought 1-0 victory making it four successive wins for the Witches. Middlewich had started the brighter of the two teams and with barely five minutes on the clock James Smith had found himself played through inside the full back no less than 3 times but was unable to convert any of the chances. However some carelessness began to creep in to Town’s passing and work rate and with not pressing as intensely as they should have been it allowed Penlake to gain a foothold in the game. Penlake had a good chance to take the lead when they broke quickly and Davey Baines raced clear. However for some reason he elected to pass to a team mate when it looked like he should have taken on the shot himself, and his team mate hit the ball wide.
Middlewich were forced into an early change on 20 minutes when Adam Morris was replaced by Steve Rowlands after feeling unwell. Yearsley came over to left back with Sam O’Sullivan dropping into centre half and Rowlands into midfield.
It was then Middlewich who spurned a glorious chance to take the lead when Penlake keeper Adam Shelton made an unbelievable triple save to deny Elliot Goryl. A delightful cross from Jamieson was chested by Goryl who then hit a first time volley at Shelton. The ball came back to Goryl who smashed the ball back at goal to be denied by Shelton again. It then came back to Goryl who tried to lift it over Shelton but it was saved once more. Minutes later Shelton denied Jamieson when he cut inside the full back and hit a shot towards the far corner but it was just tipped round the post.
Middlewich were much brighter in the second half and taking the lead on 50 minutes gave them the momentum that they needed. Minutes later Jamieson should have doubled Town’s lead when he rounded Shelton and what looked like an almost certain second goal was stopped by a defender on the line. Yearsley also went close when his header from a corner marginally cleared the cross bar, and Evans and the O’Sullivan brothers all had shots from distance that failed to trouble Shelton.
Middlewich had controlled the majority of the second half but their failure to get a second goal left them a little nervy towards the close of the match. East was forced into a good save from distance off a shot that had some swerve on it and a couple of unnecessary free kicks were conceded in the last few minutes had to be defended, but the defence held firm to gain its first clean sheet since the middle of December.Middlewich started the brighter of the two teams and with barely five minutes on the clock, James Smith found himself played through inside the full back three times but was unable to convert any of the chances. Penlake had a good chance to take the lead when they broke quickly and Davey Baines raced clear, instead of taking the shot himself, he passed it and the following shot went wide. Middlewich then spurned a glorious chance to take the lead when Penlake keeper Adam Shelton made an unbelievable triple save to deny Elliot Goryl. A delightful cross from Jamieson was chested by Goryl who then hit a first time volley at Shelton. The ball came back to Goryl who smashed the ball back at goal only to be denied by Shelton again. It then came back to Goryl who tried to lift it over Shelton but it was saved once more. Minutes later Shelton denied Jamieson when he cut inside the full back and hit a shot towards the far corner but it was just tipped round the post.
Middlewich were much brighter in the second half and took the lead after 50 minutes. Shelton received a back pass and under some pressure his kick wasn’t the best. It went straight to Chris Yearsley who headed it down for Joe O’Sullivan to clip the ball over the full back into Jamieson’s path. He made no mistake as he headed towards goal by hitting the ball hard and high into the net and despite strong Penlake pressure, they held on for 1-0.
Daten climbed to sixth spot after beating Maine Road Reserves 2-1 at home. The first 20 minutes belonged to Daten as Maine Road struggled to get in the game and were getting overrun in midfield. Maine Road’s first attack came in the 21st minute when Sam Barnett and Tommy Johnson combined well with one touch passing. Barnett put on a run to the edge of the box and a good strike saw the ball just go over the bar. Daten continued to press and a 24th minute free kick was tipped over the bar by Maine Road keeper Lewis Fielding but Maine Road failed to deal with the resulting corner allowing Rob Stewart to poke the ball home from close range.
Sean Bennett doubled Datens lead on the stroke of half time as Maine Road again failed to deal with a corner and allowed Bennett to slot home for 2-0. Maine Road left it late to pull one back as a well delivered corner from Tommy Johnson found Zach Gatward who sent it across the line with a powerful header.
JA Walton Cup
Lostock Gralam qualified for the knock out stages of the cup after beating group winners FC Woodford 5-3. Ed Marsh scored twice, while further goals came from James Dean, Graham Smalley and Callum Priestly. The win sees Lostock leap-frog Malpas into second place and join FC Woodford in the next round.
Moore United and Witton Albion Reserves shared the points in an entertaining 1-1 draw. Witton started brightly and their first chance of the game came in the 9th minute when their striker broker free of his marker only to see his shot go just wide of the post. Minutes later at the other end John Darbyshire was denied by a great save from Witton keeper Ben Daniels.
Just before the break Daniels was called into action again when Matty Arnold slotted a ball through to Joe Holt who dribbled across the box, making a gap before unleashing a fierce shot that looked set for the back of the net but Daniels used both hands to palm it over for a corner.
Witton took the lead in the 67th minute with an absolute screamer and Moore left it late for an equaliser as Colin Wilson poked the ball home from 2 yards out through a ruck of players to make it 1-1 in the 84th minute.
Reserve League One
Greenalls PSO used their game in hand to close the gap on second place Whaley Bridge to seven points as they beat Middlewich Town 2-0, while Rylands and Daten shared the points in a 2-2 draw that saw Jake Elwell and Mike Nutkins score for Daten.
Reserve League Cup
Denton Town kept their cup hopes alive as they beat Pilkington 4-2. The win puts them two points behind their opponents with one group game left to play. If Pilkington beat Styal next week then they will go through as group winners with Eagle in second place but a draw could see Denton go through on goal difference if they beat West Didsbury by five goals. A Pilkington defeat and a Denton win would see the Manchester side progress to the knock out stage.
Report: Kat Davey
Pictures Neil Southern – Full Album Here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/n_a_s/sets/72157651625312815/with/16752004007/