North West Counties Division One
FC Oswestry Town 0
Whitchurch Alport 1
A last-minute winner from Ben Mills was enough to give Whitchurch Alport the points in a hugely-enjoyable north Shropshire Boxing Day derby in the North West Counties Division One.
Mills, still returning from a three-month lay-off, proved to be the hero in an end-to-end second half in front of 131 fans.
Alport nearly broke the deadlock inside seven minutes after piling on the pressure, but Hovik Nersesyan’s header rebounded off the left-hand post and away to safety.
Nyasha Mwamaka was booked for the hosts on 16 minutes after a wild tackle on Elliot Ledwards and from the resulting kick, Dean Twigg’s free kick left Louis Mackin scrambling as it floated wide.
Alex Hughes failed to take advantage of a calamity between Sam Pickering and Alun Morris as his effort was deflected wide for a corner on 37 minutes, before both sides headed into the break goalless.
Eight minutes into the second half, Sam Spridgeon has Town’s clearest chance as he outpaced Stephen McNichol but his effort flashed narrowly wide.
But Alport struck the post again on 56 minutes when Daniel Lloyd really could have done better from six yards out as he sidefooted home, with the game opening up.
Town were next to go close on 63 minutes when Robert Shone headed over from nine yards out from Edward Moss’s whipped-in cross.
Home stopper Mackin pulled off a magnificent save on 65 minutes, diving full to his right to palm Ryan Thomas’s hooked volley which was making its way into the bottom right corner.
Spridgeon could – should – have put Town ahead on 75 minutes after an excellently-timed run from Jack Harris’s ball, but he poked wide.
But it was left to substitute Mills to grab all three points in an excellent game as he reacted first in a melee to stab home past Mackin and break Oswestry hearts in the 90th minute.