Saturday morning rain did its best to affect the fixture card again in the Hallmark Security League, but in the end fourteen fixtures went ahead on Friday and Saturday, with the outcomes having an impact at the top and bottom of both divisions.
In the Premier Division, Runcorn Linnets continued to set the pace at the top, with a 5-0 win at Maine Road.
Danny O’Brien’s ninth successfully converted penalty of the season put them ahead at the break, Paul Shanley added a second 8 minutes after the restart, and two Freddie Potter goals and one from Adam Jones in the final 8 minutes rounded off a good win.
Linnets lead at the top stays at ten points, ahead of Widnes in second place, who won 2-0 at the Select Security Stadium against AFC Liverpool.
First half goals from Michael Grogan and Jack Banister sealed the points for the home side, who are now six points ahead of Hanley Town in third place.
City of Liverpool continued their recent good form and moved into sixth place thanks to a 3-2 win at home to Burscough on Friday night.
Luke Denson struck an 81st minute winner for the Purps, after goals from David Forbes and Jack Hazlehurst had been cancelled out by two from Burscough’s Chad Whyte.
1874 Northwich continued to work their way through their backlog of games, with a 3-0 win at Irlam.
After a goalless first half, two goals in 2 minutes from leading scorer Scott McGowan put 1874 in the driving seat, and Sam Freakes added a third with 16 minutes remaining.
1874’s landlords Winsford United lost 3-2 at home to Northwich Victoria in the derby clash at the St Luke’s Barton Stadium.
Goals from Brian Matthews and George Hassall had Vics two up at the break, then Callum Gardner reduced the arrears with a 66th minute penalty, his sixth of the season.
Oscar Durnin then restored Vics’ two advantage before Declan Daniels set up an exciting finale with a second goal for Winsford 3 minutes from time, but Vics held on to secure the points.
Abbey Hey remain in relegation trouble after losing 2-1 at home to West Didsbury & Chorlton on Friday night.
The night began well for Abbey when Peter Boyle gave them a 6th minute lead, but Ben Steer equalised before half-time and Matt Eckersley struck the winner for West 20 minutes from time.
In the other game played on Friday night, Ashton Athletic rescued a point from a 2-2 draw at already-relegated Barnton, thanks to two goals from Matt Reid, the second of which was in the 90th minute.
Litherland REMYCA and Silsden AFC continued their march at the top of the Division One table, with both winning their respective games at the weekend.
REMYCA stay a point ahead of the Cobbydalers, courtesy of their 2-0 home win over Abbey Hulton United, with Paul Foy and Connor Murphy on target in the space of 8 second minutes.
Silsden’s 4-0 win over New Mills at the Cobbydale Construction Stadium was pretty much in the bag by half-time, with two goals from Chris Wademan and one from Arley Barnes putting them three-up, and Aidan Kirby added a fourth 7 minutes from time.
Whitchurch Alport lost ground on the top two after going down 4-3 in a ding-dong affair at Holker Old Boys.
By the 55th minute goals from Gareth Smith, James Bonner and Nathan Reid had Holker three-up, but an Alport revival then began, with two goals from Lee Pickerill and one from Michael Blundell bringing them level with 10 minutes remaining.
However, there was one final twist in the tale with Craig Redhead’s 85th minute winner pinching the points for Holker, a victory that moves them to within four points of a play-off place.
Alsager Town occupy the final play-off place, but they fell to a surprise defeat at Nelson, the Admirals recording only their third home league win of the season.
An early Nelson goal from Jamie Wynne was cancelled out by Alsager’s Ryan Goodwin, but second half goals from Daniel Mort and a second from Jamie Wynne sealed victory for the home side.
Nelson’s win moved them four points clear of Daisy Hill at the bottom of the table, but they failed to gain ground on the two teams above them with Bacup Borough and St Helens Town both winning.
Bacup Borough’s 5-2 home win over Stockport Town was their biggest of the season, two late goals from Josh Walne making the points safe, and Jake Young, Shaun Brady and Hal McHugh were on target in St Helens Town’s 3-0 win at home to Atherton LR.
In the other game, a 43rd minute goal from Lee Hoolickin earned Carlisle City a 1-0 win at home to Eccleshall.