The plot in the title race took a twist on Saturday when the top two sides met at Squires Lane as Hindsford played hosts to Royton Town. It was a tight affair as expected with a single first half Joe Heap goal deciding the tie as Town, who finished the game with 9 men, secured a vital three points to strengthen their challenge and put themselves to within 3 points of the leaders with a game in hand.
Hindsford’s defeat has opened things up for a couple of other teams who now have the chance to accumulate the same number of points as them.
Heyside are one of the teams who are in with a valid title challenge following their 3-1 win at home to Walshaw Sports to move themselves within 9 points of the summit with 3 games in hand. Adam Dale scored twice in the victory, added to by Carl Caffrey’s strike to get back to winning ways after last week’s late cup heartbreak.
Premier Division debutants Manchester Central are outside favourites for the title who have it all in their own hands. The form team over recent months, extended their unbeaten run to 12 games with a tidy 3-0 win at Manchester Gregorians thanks to a Dan Burns brace and a Josh Frith goal, all of which came in the second half at Belle Vue. Central sit in fifth and 11 points behind but have 4 games in hand on the leaders.
Fourth-placed Rochdale Sacred Heart maintain their spot with an impressive 4-0 win away to Bolton County. Tom Bradburn and Joseph Holt bagged two goals each at Radcliffe Road to ensure 3 points go back to Fox Park.
It was another close encounter but unfortunately it was another defeat for Beechfield United who narrowly lost out in a five-goal thriller at Cromley Road. The win lifts Georgians up two places to ninth but leaves United 2 points from safety having played at least one game more than the teams immediately above them.
It ended all square at St Johns Street where Springhead hosted Dukinfield Town. Nathan Eastmond and Toby Ferguson registered the hosts’ goals to earn them a point in a 2-2 draw.
With the top two sides not in action, Pennington jumped up a place into second following a decent 4-1 win away to Uppermill. Heath Ainscough, Daryl Cope and Dominic Shepherd (2) found the net for the visitors while Connor Berry notched Uppermill’s consolation. Altrincham Hale still lead the way by 4 points but have played 5 and 6 games more than the chasing pack.
Boothstown moved up to fourth with a solid 2-0 win at home to Radcliffe Juniors to notch their fourth straight win in all competitions. Radcliffe hover just three places and four points above the relegation spot with four games remaining.
It was a crunch match at Platt Lane Complex where Govan Athletic hosted Bolton Lads & Girls Club with both teams occupying the places below Radcliffe. However, neither team could clinch maximum points and were made to settle for one as they drew 2-2.
Middleton Colts moved to within 2 wins from clinching the Division Two title after they comfortably secured a 9-0 win at Walshaw Sports Res. Jonny Munson (4), Arron Nuttall (2), Blake Ashford, Nathan Daly and an own goal put Colts into a position which they can only be caught by 2 teams.
Now the title is out of their grasp, Avro Res continued to cling onto the other promotion spot with a 5-1 over Irlam Steel. Mike Barnes-Gott (2), Max Davidson, Oliver Froggatt and an own goal sealed the win at The Vestacare Stadium.
In third place, still a point further back are Rochdale Sacred Heart who picked up 3 points from their home game with Breightmet United but have one game left in their campaign. The hosts ran out 14-2 winners to compound the forgettable season for the Bolton outfit.
Atherton Town Res picked up their first victory since October after they won 5-2 at home to Hollinwood. Andy Piper, Calam Williamson, Matty Taylor, Nathan Randall and Ben Kindley all scored at Butler Park to give them a much-needed boost.
Wythenshawe Amateurs Res secured their sixth successive victory with a very good 4-0 win at home to Manchester Gregorians Res and puts five points between the two sides.
It’s as you were at the top of the table with the top 3 teams all winning their respective fixtures and there were goals galore.
With 4 games remaining, Elton Vale Res still lead the way courtesy of a 6-4 win over Springhead Res. Two goals apiece from Peter Hickford and Adam Plimley were backed up by further goals from Declan Guy and Kyle Carter to keep their title hopes alive. Jack Beasley, Chris Crothers, Adam Nuttall and Sheldon Casey-Clarke got ‘Head’s goals but it wasn’t to be for them on the day.
Dukinfield Town Res kept pace with the leaders with a 4-1 win over Leigh Athletic Res to remain 2 points behind with a game in hand.
Uppermill Res stay in third after they defeated fellow title contenders Chadderton EDS in another ten-goal thriller. Matt Barlow, Jake Jacobs, Kieran Hilton, Nathan Jones, Andrew Cooney and an own goal meant all the 3 points go back to Churchill Playing Fields.
Stockport Georgians Res registered back-to-back victories for the first time with a 5-2 win over fellow relegation-threatened Old Alts Res. David Evans netted twice for the hosts who ended with 10 men as Georgians overtake them on goal difference.
East Manchester Academy secured their first league win since November, beating bottom team Wilmslow Albion at Wright Robinson. The hosts ran out 6-2 winners, moving up a place to seventh as a result.
Heyside Res hold a commanding four-point lead at the top after they saw off bottom team Astley & Tyldesley, beating them 4-1 at Gin Pit Village, notching their eleventh-straight win.
In second place, with a game in hand, are Heywood St James Res who registered a 4-2 win at home to Govan Athletic Res. Ben Norbury and Luis Torres both scored for Govan with the latter getting his marching orders early in the second half.
Royton Town Res got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion with a 7-3 victory against Atherton Town A which sees them stay four points off top spot while Boothstown Res stay in fourth following a 4-2 win at Manchester Central Res. Daniel Fitch (2), Jake Daly and Stephan Howard all netter for Boothstown and Clinton Agho got both of Central’s replies.
Making it four-straight wins are Moorside Rangers Res who edged a close game with Dukinfield Town A at Astley Sports College. Todd Dalton and Paul Parker got Rangers’ goals which sees their side move up to fifth.
Altrincham Hale Res secured the biggest win-margin of the day in a 6-0 win at home to Bolton Lads & Girls Club Res and move up 2 places to seventh.
Leigh Athletic welcomed Tintwistle Athletic to Leigh Sports Village in the remaining game of Round Two. The visitors progressed to the Quarter Finals where they will meet Atherton Town after their 4-1 victory.
Pennington Res booked their place in the last eight following a 6-0 win over Tintwistle Athletic Res. Matthew Chadwick scored a hat-trick and was backed up by goals from Luke Davies, Maxwell Doyley and Callum McMahon to seal victory.