Cheshire Football League round-up

Division One An interesting weekend of results sees things tighten up for the top sides in division one.

Current champions Knutsford dropped down to fifth as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home against Rylands.

It was a cagey opening 20 minutes, but Knutsford did test Andy Moor in the Rylands goal early on; firstly with Reece Davies’ 25-yard free kick, and then Simon Williamson cut inside from the left and fired a shot that Moor saved at the near post. Rylands were threatening from corners. Liam Hayes’ delivery caused a goalmouth scramble that almost fell to Craig Smith, and soon after Jimmy Daniels volleyed over after Knutsford failed to clear Alex Lowe’s cross.

Knutsford’s best chance of the first half-an-hour fell to Reece Davies; Joel Wilbraham collected the ball on the right and whipped in a superb cross but Davies could only head wide.

Knutsford's Mark Higgs produced an impressive save when he stretched to divert Daniels’ strike around the post when it looked destined for the top corner. Andy Moor responded with a fantastic stop of his own when the ball fell to Davies in the area from Michael Cartner’s deflected strike, Davies hit the ball on the volley but Moor parried it away at point blank range.

The second half saw Knutsford dominate the early stages and Ryalnds keeper Moor was forced to make two excellent saves from Davies and Pickford to keep the scores level. At the other end, good work From Deakin and Sinker created a chance for Alex Lowe who hit a driven shot just wide of the goal.

Another smart save from Moor to deny Cartner looked to have ensured a point for Rylands but with just five minutes remaining, Lynch headed the home side into the lead when he beat Moor to a deep free kick. To their credit, Rylands responded and in the final minute a fine cross from substitute James Parr was met superbly on the half volley by Daniels to level the scores.

Incredibly the visitors could have won the match as Rylands poured forward deep into injury time, Daniels and Deakin combined brilliantly only for Higgs to deny Deakin’s chip with an outstretched hand as he raced through on goal.

Barnton moved into second place as a goal in each half from Billy Webb saw them beat current league leaders Crewe 2-0. Barnton now sit three points behind their opponents with two games in hand.

Garswood United also moved up a place and now sit in fourth spot as they inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Rudheath Social who slip down to third spot. Garswood are now right on their tails as they sit a point behind Rudheath with two games in hand. This leaves the title race wide open with the top six all in with a chance of league success.

At the other end of the table Middlewich entertained Denton Town and finished 4-0 winners thanks to a Sam Didsbury hat trick and a goal from Mike Evans.

Pilkington suffered a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Linotype CHN. Wes Wilkinson bagged himself a hat trick, with further goals from Pete Bradshaw and Javin McKenzie.

Eagle Sports lost 2-1 at home to Gamesley. Eagle's goal was scored by Owen Ellis.

Division Two Grappenhall Sports went in to their local derby with Warrington Town Reserves on the back of two wins and started the game full of confidence. Despite the first half starting very evenly, it was Grappenhall who took the lead when Dan Sisson won a header from a free kick and as the ball dropped out of the air, Ryan Crawford hit it on the volley and slammed it home from eight yards.

After the break, Warrington started well and were rewarded when a deflected 25 yard drive beat the Grappenhall keeper. The game then stretched and more chances began to be created for both sides. Grappenhall had the best chance when Dan Sisson headed over from 10 yards. Grappenhall went 2-1 up in the 81st minute when substitute Ranny Dhwahli hit a low drive from the edge of the box.

Grappenhall were unfortunate not to increase their lead when the Warrington keeper was forced into a double save from Adam Rosterne's penalty when Ryan Crawford was fouled in the box.

A single goal from Danny Morgan was all that separated Maine Road Reserves and Tarporley Victoria as the Manchester side sneaked a 1-0 win, while Congleton Vale finished 5-1 winners away at Moore United.

Mike Blundell and Leon Robinson helped Sandbach United to a 2-0 win at home against Barnton Wanderers which sees them sit comfortably in fourth with games in hand over the two sides just above them.

Malpas started at a good pace and looked quality going forward as they stretched the Daten back line. It took the home side only 8 minutes to open the scoring when Lee Parry burst through, beating two players and laying the ball to Joe Lunt who made no mistake, driving the ball into the corner of the net for 1-0. Lee Parry was unlucky not to double the lead soon after a great save stopped him getting on the score sheet. Daten pressed but another great move saw Malpas' Lee Parry picking out Owen Ward to give the home side a 2-0 advantage. Daten struggled to hold the Malpas forward runs and it was 3-0 after 26 minutes when a free kick was driven into the bottom right of the net by top scorer Alex Hughes.

Daten started the second half brightly but Malpas caught them on the break to go 4-0 up when a superb move starting from the left found Joe Lunt in the box. He was fouled, leaving Parry to slot home from the spot in the 55th minute. Daten were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute which Tom Gibson slotted home to see the game finish 4-1 to Malpas.

Reserve Division Despite being on the back foot from the first whistle, Rylands put in a solid performance at home against Garswood United and finished 2-0 winners to secure a mid table spot over Christmas. Garswood snapped into action early on when Mike Scott chipped Matt Latham in the Rylands goal but Ryan Shepherd was on hand to clear. This was followed up when Jonathon Lowe had a snap shot deflected and Scott again saw an effort tipped over as Rylands failed to maintain possession. It wasn't until the half hour mark when the home side had their first effort but Pye's speculative shot failed to trouble Lawless in the Garswood goal. The ever dangerous Leyland combined with Scott to force a smart save from Latham and just on half time another effort from Lowe was turned round the post as Garswood increased the pressure on the Rylands goal.

Within minutes of the restart Garswood wasted a great opportunity when Scott scooped an effort over the bar while at the other end M. Jordan put Mather through but his shot lacked power and direction. On the hour mark, Rylands took the lead against the run of play. Lawless in the Garswood goal firstly miscontrolled a backpass and as Jordan put him under pressure, his clearance was blocked by the forwards lunge and the ball cannoned off his back and rolled into the empty net.

Garswood for the next twenty minutes laid siege and only the efforts of the Rylands rear guard and the tireless Daniel Williams and Nick Jordan kept them in front. There were more chances for Garswood as Leyland put Scott through but he shot wide, before Leyland himself had a goalbound effort blocked and Latham clawed another Scott effort away to safety. Rylands sealed the points when Matt Jordan beat the offside trap, and drew the keeper in before unselfishly laying the ball into the path of Craig Mather for a simple tap in for 2-0.

Goals from Kev Hammond and Stephen Jackson earned Barnton a 2-1 win at home against Eagle Sports, while Whaley Bridge reduced the gap at the top to six points with a 2-1 win away at Daten. They still have three games in hand over leaders Greenalls PSO.

Jason Jones and Jordan Thompson earned Linotype a points as they drew 2-2 in their local derby at home against Poynton.

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