North West Counties Football League Division One South

Ellesmere Rangers 0

St Martins 1

It WAS St Martins who prevailed in the north Shropshire derby at Ellesmere Rangers.

It took just one goal by Callum Graybrook in the first half to separate the sides in what was a tense afternoon.

The Saints were able to hold onto their lead in the second half without too many alarms and took home the three points.

Early in the fixture, the ball spent most of the time in the middle of the park, with both sides trying to take the game to their opponents by getting forward whenever possible.

An early chance came for the Saints when Tawanda Melusi robbed a Rangers defender of possession and found Tom Ash with his pass, but Ash’s effort was sent over the crossbar.

Rangers’ first chance of the afternoon followed shortly afterwards when Aaron Davies struck the post with a long-range effort which George Austin could only watch fly towards goal.

The Saints began to build momentum and were rewarded when they took the lead after just more than half an hour of play.

Melusi caused problems for the Rangers defence again as he ran forward with the ball and played it to the feet of Graybrook who fired home past the goalkeeper to give his side a one goal advantage.

The remaining 10 minutes of the first half saw very few chances and meant the Saints took a one goal lead into the break.

Players returned after the break to continue what had been a difficult game because of the drying pitch under foot.

It could be argued that Rangers were unlucky to head into half-time a goal behind, however it was a different story in the second half as St Martins began to take control of the game.

The first chance after the break fell to Graybrook who aimed for goal from outside the area, only to see his strike sail over the bar.

It was proving difficult for Rangers to get at the well-organised Saints defence who were able to keep the hosts at bay.

At the other end, St Martins might have scored further goals with chances from Harvey Plimmer, Calum Bennett and Karl Bailey all coming close to scoring.

Perhaps the closest chance of the second half saw Bailey strike the post with his effort in the last 10 minutes.

Rangers attempted to pull a goal back with a final surge of attacks late in the afternoon.

Jack Delgado’s headed effort was cleared over the bar before a second effort from the same player was touched past the post by Austin.

There was little more to cheer for the home supporters apart from a late strike by Leighton Kendrick which sailed narrowly over the crossbar.

The Saints were able to see out the final few minutes of the game to hold on to their one-goal advantage.

St Martins move onto 46 points after 31 games in ninth place, while Ellesmere Rangers remain in 19th place on 16 points after 28 games.

Ellesmere Rangers are next in action when they take on Barnton at home on Saturday, March 2.

St Martins are up against Wythenshawe Amateurs on Saturday, March 9.