North West Counties Premier Division

Hanley Town 1

Whitchurch Alport 6

Alport’s mini-slump of just one point gained from the previous 12 on offer was spectacularly ended at Potteries Park on Saturday as the rampant Reds scored six goals away from home for the second time in 2018/19.

The game was all but over by the halfway stage, with Alport 3-0 up and after the break they demonstrated their superiority in this match by running riot.

Recent capture Jordan Cole grabbed a hat-trick having gone three previous matches without scoring. But here the striker was in good form, chasing down seemingly lost causes and getting his rewards for his endeavours. Arron Johns, Tim Sanders and Joe Howell were also on the scoresheet for Alport who moved into 11th in the table after their excellent result.

In the opening 20 minutes, with the gloomy black clouds looming, Whitchurch were on the back foot at times with keeper Dave Parton called into action to make two good saves, and the hosts were unlucky with a shot that clipped the top of the bar.

At this stage there seemed little chance of a goal avalanche but once Cole had picked out the bottom corner after good work from Lee Pickerill, the away side rarely looked back. Johns smashed a shot that clattered against the woodwork but he was soon on target when he profited from a slip-up between the goalkeeper and the centre half, to get a clear run on goal with it all to aim at.

It looked like Alport were going into half-time with a two-goal lead but it quickly became three when Cole grabbed his second after more kamikaze defending.

It was obvious that Hanley would have to score the next goal in the game to have any chance of rescuing anything, but within two minutes of the restart Alport made it four. Johns danced around a number of defenders but was denied by a decent save only for Cole to knock in the rebound and claim his treble. In fairness to the home side they kept plugging away on a saturated pitch but the longer the game went on, the more they craved the final whistle.

The visitors went five in front when Sanders lashed home and Cole might have had another goal only to be denied by the linesman’s flag. Luke Walley came on from the bench and tormented Town’s team with surging runs and neat footwork. Time and again the youngster shone and he was another one who might have had his name in the goals for column on another day.

As Alport kept their foot to the floor, Cole was sent clean through by Sean Griffiths and did everything right sliding the ball beyond the keeper, only to see his shot cannon back into play off an upright.

Town did manage to get one back through substitute Callum Tunstall but it was never going to be anything more than a scant consolation. The two sides had drawn 2-2 at Yockings earlier in the season and Alport sensed that it was two points dropped that day.

Here in Staffordshire their supremacy was underlined when Howell finished off a fantastic move from front to back with a neat shot into the corner of the net to end the scoring in the last minute.

It might have been 10 but the most important thing was getting back to winning ways and the away fans – who made up more than half the attendance – drove back to north Shropshire having seen their side finally rediscover their shooting boots.

NWCFL round-up

Irlam took top billing as they booked a place in the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Vase for the first time in their history. Michael Dodd’s men progressed to the last 32 of the competition with a 2-0 win in north Lincolnshire over Winterton Rangers of the Northern Counties East League.

Irlam will now host Cadbury Athletic from the Midland Regional League Division One in the next round on Saturday, January 5. Four of the scheduled eight ties in the Macron Cup 3rd Round, delivering 23 goals in the process.

Highest scorers of the day were Avro, who won 7-2 at home to fellow Division One North side Garstang. Louis Potts and Jake Pollard both scored twice in a game where they had built a 5-1 lead by the interval.

City of Liverpool also displayed some impressive goalscoring form as they won 6-2 at home to Burscough, with six different scorers on the score sheet for the Purps. The other two games both ended in away wins for Premier Division, with Emini Adegbenro’s 55th minute goal seeing Congleton Town through to a 1-0 win at Abbey Hulton United, and Kazim Waite-Jackson scored twice in 1874 Northwich’s 4-1 win at Abbey Hey.

In the Premier Division, Runcorn Town failed to take the chance to narrow the gap between themselves and City of Liverpool at the top, losing 2-0 at home to Silsden. Two goals in five second half minutes from Joe Gaughan and Niall Sultan proved decisive for the Cobbydalers. Squires Gate hit six, with six different scorers in the home win over Ashton Athletic.