The wet weather once again took its toll on the weekend’s fixture schedule, with just ten games taking place in the Hallmark Security League.
In the Reusch First Division Cup semi-final second Leg, Sandbach United clinched a place in the final with a 5-4 aggregate win over Holker Old Boys, but the Cumbrians certainly made life difficult, winning 3-2 on the day.
Sandbach had a 3-1 lead from the first leg in Barrow, and when Connor Sutton put them 1-0 up after 31 minutes, it looked like a comfortable afternoon was in store for the home side.
But Holker had other ideas, and Sam Lightfoot equalised on 59 minutes and John-Paul Stanway started nerves jangling in the home camp with a second goal for Holker seven minutes from time.
Jamie Morgan then equalised for Sandbach to restore their two-goal aggregate lead, but a last-minute penalty from David Swarbrick brought Holker back to within a goal.
But Andy Hockenhull’s side held out, and now face City of Liverpool FC in the final at the end of the season.
In the Premier Division, Atherton Collieries kept their place at the top of the table, but it took a last-minute goal from skipper Brad Cooke to seal a crucial 1-0 win at Maine Road.
Runcorn Linnets remain in second place, two points behind but having played three more games, after a 5-2 home win over Congleton Town.
Declan Fletcher gave the visitors the lead on 29 minutes, but goals from Danny McKenna, Paul Shanley and Kristian Holt put Linnets in the driving seat before the break.
Danny O`Brien increased the advantage with a fourth goal in the 71st minute, and although Callum Gardner reduced the arrears with 9 minutes remaining, Stuart Wellstead rounded off a good afternoon for Linnets with a fifth goal from the penalty 5 minutes from time.
Runcorn Town’s promotion hopes were dealt a blow when they lost 4-3 at home to Barnoldswick Town on Friday night.
Aaron Hollindrake scored twice for Barlick, and the result leaves Town in fourth place, nine points behind Colls at the top.
A ding-dong affair at Abbey Lane ended with Hanley Town edging past Ashton Athletic with a 4-3 win.
Athletic were ahead three times through Daniel Smith, Matthew Farnworth and Marcus Cusani, but two first half goals from Theo Stair with two more after the break from Dan Cope and Ben Blowers saw Town to victory.
Nic Evangelinos had an enjoyable afternoon on the Fylde coast, scoring a hat-trick for West Didsbury & Chorlton in the 3-1 win at Squires Gate, and there was much rejoicing on the Wirral as Cammell Laird 1907 finally collected their first win of the season in convincing style, beating AFC Darwen 4-1.
Charlie MacInnes, Jimmy Burston, Callum Morrison and Josh Maldon were on target for Lairds after Oliver Birchall had given AFC Darwen the lead.
In the First Division, Litherland REMYCA remain top of the table, with Lennon Whewell’s 12th minute goal securing a 1-0 win at Silsden.
They stay two points ahead of City of Liverpool, who had a fine 4-0 win at FC Oswestry Town.
It took until after the break before Elliott Nevitt broke the deadlock, and then a John Connolly penalty and further goals from Declan Gregson and David Forbes rounded off a good afternoon for the purples.
Chadderton kept up their good goalscoring form with a 7-0 home win over AFC Blackpool.
The game was over by the 35th minute, by which time Chaddy had built up a five-goal lead, and Matthew Crothers led the way with a hat-trick.
In the other game, Ben Davidson gave Carlisle City an early lead against Eccleshall, although an equaliser from Joshua Cartledge looked for a long time like it would earn the visitors a valuable point.
But Jamie Heath struck a minute from time to clinch a 2-1 win for the Cumbrians – a result that keeps Eccleshall deep in relegation trouble.