Saturday's Premier Division action review

6 months ago By David Watters

Given the weather over the last two or three days, a surprising number of games in the EVO-STIK League's Premier Division survived on the last Saturday of 2017, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

Leaders Altrincham secured a third successive 3-0 league win at Owen Street against Coalville Town to leave them eight points clear at the top of the table.

Altrincham took the lead on the stroke of half-time with a James Poole free-kick from just outside the area. The visitors dominated the second half and Jordan Hulme made it 2-0 after 71 minutes. Sub Sean Miller nipped in to complete the scoring in the 87th minute.

Workington AFC moved into second place after Shaw Lane AFC`s game was one of three to be postponed.

The Reds' game at Marston Road against Stafford Rangers survived though and the encounter saw Conor Tinnion break the deadlock to give the visitors a 64th minute lead.

London buses and all that – as Rangers had to wait only five minutes to respond through new signing Rob Thompson-Brown. But the visitors won it in the 77th minute through a Phil McLuckie effort.

With all the other top five contenders idle on Saturday, Ashton United moved into sixth, level on points with fifth-placed Grantham Town, after winning 2-0 at Hurst Cross against bottom-markers Sutton Coldfield Town.

Richard Smith gave the home side the boost of an early ninth minute lead that Nic Evangelinos doubled five minutes before half-time.

Farsley Celtic are seventh after making it three games unbeaten with a hard-fought 1-1 draw away to Rushall Olympic.

Danny Waldren had given Rushall a 13th minute lead as he curled home from long range. But an error from home `keeper Jahquil Hill allowed Danny Ellis to tap home an equaliser less than a minute from time.

Buxton are eighth after recording a 3-1 win at The Grove against third-bottom Halesowen Town.

It was a good day for the Bucks star striker Liam Hardy, who put them ahead inside the opening minute and went on to complete a hat-trick with goals in the 29th and 31st minutes. Enoch Ekongo reduced the deficit five minutes later, but a goalless second period left the visitors 3-1 winners.

Hednesford Town are level on points with Buxton and a place further back after recording a 1-0 win at the Giant Axe against mid-table Lancaster City, Sam Oji`s goal 15 minutes from time proving to be enough for the Pitmen.

It was a day of milestones for Stourbridge as they tasted victory for the first time in seven matches after an emphatic 4-0 win at the Marine Travel Arena against fifth-bottom Marine AFC.

Darryl Westlake gave the Glassboys a 23rd minute lead that Leon Broadhurst doubled from the penalty spot six minutes later. Luke Benbow made it 3-0 in the 34th minute, and a low key second period saw Josh Cooke add a fourth in stoppage time to make it a good day for Stourbridge skipper Paul McCone, who was making his 200th appearance for the club.

It`s only one win in six now for Nantwich Town after they suffered a 2-1 Weaver Stadium defeat to Mickleover Sports.

And that, despite taking an 11th minute lead through Courtney Wildin. Pablo Mills levelled two minutes after the break and Andy Dales won it for Sports five minutes later.

The other game to receive the referee's nod took place at Wincham Park as Witton Albion and Barwell shared a 2-2 draw.

The Canaries led through Matt Stenson's 22nd minute effort. Steven Tames pulled Albion level from the spot just past the hour-mark, only for Jake Heath to restore Barwell`s lead in the 71st minute. But Rob Hopley popped up with the home side's equaliser in stoppage time.

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Where next?

Fan's family thank life-saving trio The family of Alvechurch fan Rick Edwards have praised the EVO-STIK League club’s staff and fans for bringing him back to life after the cardiac arrest he suffered at Lye Meadow on the Saturday before Christmas.
Saturday's North Division action review The EVO-STIK League North fixture list on the final Saturday of 2017 was decimated by the weather, five of its ten games falling victim of waterlogged pitches, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

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