At long last sunshine was evident at grounds across the Hallmark Security League on Saturday, giving a more traditional April backdrop to important games at the top and bottom of both divisions.
There was one cup tie in the fixture schedule, and the Macron Cup semi-final first leg at the Ambitek Stadium ended goalless between Irlam and Burscough.
In the Premier Division, six of the seven games ended in away wins, and one of those was at Mossie Park where Runcorn Linnets moved ten points clear at the top after a 2-0 win at Charnock Richard.
Kristian Holt and Freddie Potter were on target for Linnets, who now need eleven points from their last six games to secure the league title.
Nearest challengers Widnes didn’t have a game, but Runcorn Town closed the gap between themselves and Widnes to four points with a 1-0 win over AFC Liverpool at the Pavilions, thanks to a goal in the 21st minute from Mark Reed.
City of Liverpool moved to within three points of Hanley Town in fourth place with a 3-1 win at Barnoldswick Town, two goals from Anthony Brown and one from John Connolly earning victory for the Purps.
First half strikes from Gary Pett and Ryan Charnley saw Squires Gate through to a 2-0 win at Ashton Athletic, and second half goals from Tom Bailey and Joseph Shaw earned West Didsbury & Chorlton their third away win in succession, this time by 2-1 at Northwich Victoria.
A ding-dong affair at the Ruby Civil Arena ended with Congleton Town turning a 3-2 half-time deficit into a 4-3 win over Padiham, with two goals in 2 second half minutes from William Hasler-Cregg and Emini Adegbenro proving to be decisive.
Maine Road remain deep in relegation trouble after going down 1-0 at home to Winsford United, with Blues player-manager Lee Duckworth scoring the only goal of the game.
In Division One, Silsden AFC are back on top and continue to set the pace following Friday night’s 2-1 win at Nelson, Aidan Kirby on target twice for the Cobbydalers.
Litherland REMYCA remain right on Silsden’s coat tails, two points behind in second place, after a 4-1 win at St Helens Town, although they had an early shock when Tom Grimshaw gave Town a 5th minute lead.
But two Colin McDonald goals before half-time, a third from Josh Hamilton just before the hour-mark and a Colin Quirk penalty in the last minute delivered the three points for Remy.
Prestwich Heys moved into third place after an 8-1 home win over Stockport Town, with a John Main hat-trick the highlight of a good afternoon for Heys.
The big win moved them ahead of Whitchurch Alport, who lost 4-1 at New Mills in probably the most eye-catching result of the afternoon, with Dennis Sheriff grabbing a first half hat trick for the Millers.
Sandbach United are fifth but had to settle for a point from a 1-1 draw at AFC Blackpool, when Zac Hargreaves cancelled out Stuart Tulloch’s opener for United.
Alsager Town kept their place in the final play-off spot but left it late to secure a 2-1 win at Atherton LR.
The Bullets were ahead at the break through a Jordan Conley effort, but Theo Kidd levelled for LR with a penalty 17 minutes from time.
But Taylor Attrell’s 90th minute winner clinched victory for Alsager who would otherwise have been edged out of the play-off places by Cammell Laird 1907, who won 1-0 at Chadderton thanks to Josh Maldon’s goal 15 minutes from time.
FC Oswestry Town dealt a potentially fatal blow to hopes that Holker Old Boys may have had of making the play-offs, sending them back on the long trip to Cumbria pointless after Sam Spridgeon, Joe Newton, Tom Rowlands and Brendan Price all got on the scoresheet in Town’s 4-0 win.
However, another club who made a long journey had better luck, with a goal in each half from Josh Tune earning Abbey Hulton United a 2-1 win at Carlisle City.
A hat-trick from Dan Needham earned Eccleshall a 3-2 win over Bacup Borough at Pershall Park, a result that means Borough are now third-bottom and just three points ahead of Daisy Hill, who moved off bottom place, thanks to a Michael Gervin goal seeing them to a 1-0 win over Cheadle Town at New Sirs.