Saturday's Premier Division action review

3 months ago By David Watters

Altrincham stretched their advantage at the top of the EVO-STIK League Premier table to ten points after winning 2-0 at Marston Road against old rivals Stafford Rangers on Saturday, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

In front of a crowd of 599, Jordan Hulme rounded the keeper to break the deadlock in the 61st minute – his eighth successive league goal, centre-back Ben Harrison making the points safe for the leaders in the 77th minute.

Fourth-placed Shaw Lane AFC have four games in hand but are now 13 points behind after being held to a goalless draw at home by fifth-bottom Whitby Town.

Grantham Town are now second but they too dropped two points in a 2-2 home draw with another play-off contender, Farsley Celtic.

The Gingerbreads got off to a great start as Curtis Burrows put them in front after just five minutes. And then Jordan Hempenstall added a second 10 minutes later. But the Yorkshire side fought back to level through Danny Ellis after 26 minutes and Adam Clayton on 34 minutes.

Ashton United missed the chance to step into the top five when they too were held to a draw, 1-1 at Wincham Park against Witton Albion.

However, after both goals came inside the opening five minutes – Mark Lees for Ashton and Steven Tames for Albion, the visitors had Lanre Olapade sent off after 36 minutes for bringing down Rob Hopley who was through on goal.

And the ten-men had the best chance of winning the game when they were awarded a penalty after 68 minutes, but Nic Evangelinos missed.

Seventh-placed Hednesford Town also could have gone into the top five had they won at Keys Park against Coalville Town.

But amazingly, they too were held to a 1-1 draw in which the Pitmen scraped a point, thanks to a stoppage time James Lawrie effort after the Ravens had led through Nathan Watson's 73rd minute opener.

A now tenth-placed Mickleover Sports were the only other side in the top half to win on Saturday.

They beat Matlock Town at home, thanks to Evan Garnett after 15 minutes and Pablo Mills on 63 minutes.

Sutton Coldfield Town find themselves four points adrift at the bottom of the table after being edged out by the odd goal in seven at Coles Lane to neighbouring Rushall Olympic.

Joe Hull gave the Pics an early sixth minute lead but a Justin Richards brace in the 14th minute from the spot and then the 47th minute, gave the Royals the lead.

Daniel Dubidat matched him though with a double of his own on 51 and 65 minutes. David Howarth equalised in the 72nd minute, but a spot-kick from veteran striker Richard Brodie won it for the Pics in time added on.

Second-bottom Stalybridge Celtic, who possess games in hand on all around them, picked up a useful point from a 2-2 draw at Silverlands against Buxton.

But Celtic led 2-0 with goals from Liam Dickinson after 25 minutes and Jordan Chapell after 38 minutes. The old adage about 2-0 being a dangerous lead proved right again as the Bucks pulled level through Jack Broadhead after 64 minutes and Ryan McDermott 15 minutes from time.

Third-bottom Halesowen Town were beaten 1-0 at The Grove by a Nantwich Town side who were in trouble themselves until Joe Mwasile`s 15th minute effort pushed them eight points clear of Stalybridge.

The day's other game saw the game between Lancaster City and Barwell become the sixth to end in stalemate.

Charlie Bailey`s 22nd minute opener for the Dolly Blues at the Giant Axe being cancelled out by Brady Hickey five minutes after half-time.

Image courtesy of Witton Albion/Twitter

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