Nantwich Town moved into fourth place in the BetVictor Premier Division with a 2-2 draw at Radcliffe which sets them up nicely for tomorrow’s night home game against leaders South Shields at the Weaver Stadium.
Nantwich are 11 points behind South Shields with a game in hand as the race for promotion hots up.
The Dabbers had a debutant in goal, Cameron Gregory, on loan from Shrewsbury Town, to cover for Greg Hall’s suspension and he was called into action early on to deny Matty Crothers and Stephen Dawson.
However, Radcliffe opened the scoring in the 25th minute when a long throw-in caused confusion and Josh Langley inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.
Gregory then made a superb save from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro to keep the half-time score at 1-0. Nantwich were awarded a penalty three minutes into the second half when a Prince Haywood cross was handled by Dawson. Sean Cooke equalised by sending the spot-kick down the middle. Radcliffe came close to regaining the lead when Crothers hit the bar and soon afterwards a corner was cleared off the line.
It was Nantwich who went in front though in the 62nd minute when the ball came to Ricardo Fuller and he controlled it on his chest before curling an effort past Ollie Martin. Callum Saunders was then denied by Martin’s double save before Radcliffe levelled in the 70th minute. It came from a rocket shot from Darren McKnight, who rifled the ball into the top corner.
STAFFORD RANGERS gave therir survival hopes a boost with a 2-1 home win over play-off hopefuls Whitby Town.
It was much against the run of play that Whitby took a 14th minute lead. The ball found its way through to Evan Horwood, but he declined to shoot. The visitors kept possession and, after both Jake Hackett and Horwood had not gone for goal, Keiron Weledji took his chance, with a shot through Lewis King.
But Rangers were back level in two minutes. Jake Charles cut in from the right before spotting Alex Harvey in space and he let fly from 25 yards with an unstoppable shot.
Rangers then won the game four minutes from time when Brad Grayson picked up possession on the right and centred for Jake Charles to head in the winner to secure just the fourth win of Rangers’ torrid season.
LEEK TOWN remain five points clear at the top of the South East Division after a hard fought 3-2 victory over Carlton Town at Harrison Park.
The Blues went in front in the fourth minute. Rob Stevenson was fouled just outside the box and when Matt Bell curled the ball over, Ollie Harrison powerfully headed past Jack Steggles from six yards.
Five minutes later Carlton were level when a shot from the left by Tyler Johan was palmed away by Danny Roberts, only for Tyler Blake to sidefoot the rebound home.
Leek were back in front in the 12th minute. Stevenson burst into the box and having got past one challenge he was then felled by Dan Brown. Darren Chadwick scored the spot-kick to put Leek ahead for the second time. Carlton thought they had equalised when Toby Moore drove the ball home but he was denied by an offside flag.
Chadwick had a header cleared off the line by Jacob Sturges early in the second half but then Carlton levelled for a second time in the 53rd minute. Oliver Robinson went down the left and his low cross was turned home by Blake for his second goal of the game. The game seemed to be drifting to a draw until two Leek substitutes conjured up a winner in the 84th minute. Aaron Bott beat Sturges down the right and his subsequent cross was headed into the net by Jacob Twyford to the delight of the home faithful.
The reason Leek are only five points clear is because second-placed Stamford won 1-0 at KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC with a goal deep into time added on. Grove’s Regan Griffiths, on loan from Crewe Alex, hit a 30 yard effort that forced Danny Haystead into a good save. At the other end Kieran Harrison made a superb save by tipping Tendai Chitiza’s eight yard shot onto the bar. Haystead saved well from Rumineo as both sides sought an opening.
The two teams continued to cancel each other out until Stamford agonisingly broke the deadlock three minutes into time added on. Harry Vince picked the ball up in midfield and strode forward before hitting a 25-yard shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Afterwards manager Ryan Austin said: “We were devastated to lose the game in that manner. It was a good game really and hard fought with both sides going for it. A draw would have been a fair result.”
In the North West Counties League Premier Division, HANLEY TOWN lost their seventh game in eight, going down 3-1 at Barnoldswick Town to remain bottom of the table. It was Hanley who went in front though in the 28th minute. A corner was only half-cleared to substitute James Melhado and his shot through a crowd of players took a deflection on its way past Jack Little in the home goal.
Hanley keeper Dominic Kurasik saved well from Djabi Mamadou to keep the lead intact until half-time. Little made two good saves to prevent Hanley from doubling their lead but Barnoldswick levelled in the 65th minute when Kasom Shah hit a bullet of a shot into the net. Five minutes later Hanley were behind when a scramble in the box led to Joe Noblet poking the ball into the net.
Little stood between a Hanley equaliser but Barnoldswick scored again in the 83rd minute when Zack Dale found the net with a shot that zipped past Kurasik.
CONGLETON TOWN were beaten 4-2 by Northwich Victoria at the Cheshire Silk 106.9 stadium on Sunday afternoon in part of the weekend’s Groundhop.
The Bears took the lead in the eighth minute when Kyle Diskin played the ball through to Aaron Johns and he steered it past Michael Hale in the visitors’ goal.
Northwich were level four minutes later when a Thomas Kilfilin corner was headed home by Brandon Barski. The same players combined to put the Vics ahead in the 23rd minute, another Kilfilin corner being headed into the net by Barski.
Northwich made it 3-1 seven minutes after the interval. Brad Lynch burst into the box beating two men and he slotted the ball home at Dave Parton’s near post. They added a fourth goal in the 65th minute. Saul Henderson retrieved a ball at the byline, pulled it back where Joe Camozzi flicked it past Parton and Lynch knocked it into an empty net.
The Bears scored again in the 79th minute to make the final score 4-2. The ball was played through to Johns and he hammered it past Hale for his sixth goal in five games.
STONE OLD ALLEYNIANS kept up their promotion challenge in the First Division South with a 4-1 win at bottom club St Martins.
St Martins took a surprise lead in the 38th minute when Stone keeper Adam Alcock mis-hit a clearance straight to Jamie Smith who promptly hit the ball back into the net from 25 yards. Sixty seconds later Stone were level though, when Matt Thomas hit a shot that beat George Austin.
Stone upped the pressure after the break and two goals in three minutes clinched the points. In the 58th minute, a good move down the left ended with Will Bailey firing home from 15 yards. Three minutes later a Sam Wilson cross was glanced home by Jack Tomlinson for his 15th goal of the season and his sixth in the last eight games. Stone added a fourth goal ten minutes from time when good work by Cameron Sinclair led to Will Byers turning the ball home from close range. The result moved Stone up to third place in the table, with the top four being promoted.
SANDBACH UNITED won their first home game this year, defeating local rivals ALSAGER TOWN 3-1 on Friday night in front of a record attendance of 455.
It was the first game of the Groundhop weekend and Alsager were awarded a penalty in the 19th minute when Scott Evans was penalised for a push on Josh Lane in the box. Former Crewe, Nantwich and Northern Ireland striker Steve Jones fired the spot-kick into the top corner for his first goal for the club. Sandbach levelled on the half-hour mark. Daniel Bartle had a shot parried by James McLenaghan, but Will Saxon was first to the rebound to score.
Both sides had chances to score again with Jack Hart hitting the post for Sandbach, but it was Sandbach who did find the net in the 68th minute. Danish striker Valdemar Schousboe burst through the Bullets’ defence and slotted the ball under the advancing McLenaghan to the delight of the home crowd.
Saxon had a couple of shots saved as Sandbach dominated and two minutes from time the same player was brought down to give the home side a penalty. Bartle took it and although McLenaghan parried his first effort, he stroked the rebound home.
The result leaves Alsager just two points clear of the relegation zone.
ABBEY HULTON UNITED picked up a point from a 1-1 draw with Cammell Laird 1907 at the Drayton Beaumont Stadium, which was impressive as they were down to ten men for 50 minutes.
Abbey took the lead in the 32nd minute when leading scorer Kieran Lazenby notched his 14th goal of the season and his third in successive games.
Abbey were reduced to ten men five minutes before the break, but the Lairds drew level five minutes into the second half. Tom Parry was the man who scored it with a right footed shot from the edge of the box.
ECCLESHALL played their first game in five weeks but were beaten 2-1 at Pershall Park by New Mills with a last minute penalty dealing a further blow to their fading promotion hopes.
After a tight first half the Eagles broke the deadlock in the 56th minute when a clever through-ball saw Luke Lewis slide the ball home.
Four minutes later New Mills equalised when a free-kick from Jake Pollard was headed across by James Nield and Benito Lowe knocked the ball into the net from almost on the line.
A draw looked certain but in the last minute New Mills were awarded a penalty when Harvey Collins fouled Lowe in the box. The same player got up to win the game by placing the spot-kick into the corner of the net.
Brocton strengthened their grip on second place in the Midland League Division One with a 4-1 victory at Heath Hayes, extending their unbeaten away league run to nine games.
The Badgers went in front in the 25th minute through leading scorer Regan Smith and five minutes later the same player added a second. Rhys Horton pulled a goal back for Hayes five minutes into the second half.
Barely a minute later Jack Weldon restored Brocton’s two-goal advantage. Smith rounded off the scoring in the 68th minute by completing his hat-trick to take his tally for the season to 36.
UTTOXETER TOWN remain in fourth place following a 2-0 win at Coventry Copsewood in their first game since the sad death of their manager Dean Arnold.
The game was preceded by a minute’s applause in his honour.
Uttoxeter took the lead in the 21st minute when a clearance was sent back into the danger zone and Kyle Esplin scored. Coventry went close to a leveller in the 36th minute when Nick Brandish hit the crossbar with a free kick.
Alex Britton added a second goal in the second half.
ROCESTER battled hard but eventually succumbed to a late goal to lose 1-0 against leaders Leicester Road at Hillsfield.
Both teams cancelled each other out overall, but with just four minutes to go the Romans were reduced to ten men when Tommie Cooke was sent off for receiving two yellow cards.
A minute later Leicester made the extra man count as captain Danny Jenno netted the only goal of the game to keep their title push on the right track.