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Altrincham Celebrate Title Success

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Altrincham secured the Evo-Stik League Premier title on Saturday and promotion back to the Vanarama National League North after just one season following a 2-0 win at play-off chasing Grantham Town at The Meres.

After a goalless first half played, Altrincham dominated the second half and on-loan Chris Merrie put them ahead in the 51st minute.

John Johnston beat Gingerbreads `keeper Kieran Preston in a one-on-one to double the lead on 79 minutes.

And but for an excellent performance from Preston, the margin of victory would have been much greater for Altrincham.

Although beaten on the day, Grantham are assured a top five spot and have two games to try and finish as high as possible to obtain a favourable draw.

Warrington Town, who chased the champions hard, could only manage a 1-1 draw at Cantilever Park against second-bottom Halesowen Town.

Although Roland Agbor`s 71st minute equaliser after Jamie McDonald`s 57th minute opener for the Wire spoiled the day somewhat, the hosts have confirmed a play-off place and will now try for runners-up spot and home advantage in the semi-finals. And with a four-point advantage over Grantham and five of fourth-placed Ashton United, they should achieve that with two games remaining.

Ashton kept their chances going with a 2-1 win over Nantwich Town at Hurst Cross.

Liam Tomsett gave the Robins an early 6th minute lead and then levelled that himself with an own goal on 39 minutes.

Sam Sheridan restored the home side`s lead right on the half-time whistle – a lead they kept.

The top five battle to join Warrington and Grantham is between Ashton, Farsley Celtic and Shaw Lane AFC, who have a game in hand on the two teams above them.

Farsley maintained their challenge with a best-of-seven win at Kirkby Road against Barwell.

It was late drama after Nathan Turner`s 27th minute opener for Celtic had been cancelled out by Matt Stenson 7 minutes later.

Brady Hickey put the Canaries in front 7 minutes after the restart, only for Adam Clayton to restore parity just past the hour-mark.

However, Hickey`s second after 74 minutes looked to have won it for Barwell, only for Paul Walker to grab an 88th minute leveller and then, 3 minutes into stoppage time, Turner to win it for the Yorkshire side.

Shaw Lane had a slightly less frenetic 2-1 win at Marston Road against Stafford Rangers, taking an early 6th minute lead from a Damian Reeves penalty.

Rob Thompson-Brown levelled, also from the spot, on 64 minutes, but the Ducks sealed a crucial win through Reeves again 5 minutes later.

Elsewhere on Saturday, seventh-placed Witton Albion`s top five chances have gone after a run of five games without a win – a 0-0 draw at Dales Lane against Rushall Olympic being the fifth.

Coalville Town earned a good 3-0 win at Bower Fold against a Stalybridge Celtic side who, in contrast to champions Altrincham, have struggled since coming down with them last April.

Steve Towers after 20 minutes, Cleveland Taylor on the hour-mark and James Dillon were the Ravens` marksmen.

Matlock Town won 2-0 at home to Workington AFC, thanks to Adam Yates after 25 minutes and Ricardo German just past the hour-mark, while Whitby Town were 3-0 winners at the Marine Travel Arena against Marine AFC, with Callum Patton bagging a brace on 43 and 79 minutes and Tony Hulme adding the third in stoppage time.

Lancaster City and Stourbridge shared a goalless Giant Axe draw, and Karl Hawley`s 67th minute goal gave relegated Sutton Coldfield Town a little joy at Buxton.

And Mickleover Sports won 3-1 at Keys Park against Hednesford Town in the day`s other game in which Pablo Mills opened the scoring for the visitors after 18 minutes and Matthew Barnes-Homer on 53 minutes and Will Norcross on 74 minutes added to that, rendering Danny Glover`s reply 10 minutes from time as just a consolation.

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