North West Counties League

Premier Division

Whitchurch Alport 1

Burscough 0

Whitchurch Alport's long wait for a home win finally arrived on Saturday with a hard fought victory against a gritty Burscough side with top scorer Alex Hughes heading home the decisive goal late in the first half.

Alport's Dan Skelton was first to test the visiting goalkeeper, Ben Fletcher, who did well to dive low to his right to prevent the ball from hitting the net inside 60 seconds. Sean Griffiths was next to test Fletcher, getting on the end of a flowing Alport move while moments later Chad Whyte sprung clear to go one on one with Reds keeper, Dave Parton, with the latter pulling off a fine save.

There was astonishment all around Yockings just past the half-hour when Parton made a miraculous stop to leave Whyte holding his head in his hands. It rightly drew applause from all four sides of the ground and was a pivotal moment in the match. The breakthrough came when Hughes got just about enough purchase on his header directing it just inside the post to leave Fletcher scrambling across his line but to no avail.

Arron Johns then got underneath a header from a superb Joe Minshall cross, and then a really good team move started down the left by Ben Chilcott finally found Hughes in a good position, but the striker took one touch too many and the chance disappeared.

In the 65th minute it took a goal-line clearance to deny Griffiths from a Hughes corner. Perhaps the best chance of the match fell to Johns who swung a boot at a low Griffiths centre only to see it curl agonisingly wide of the post.

A goal then would surely have ended any interest the visitors would have had in the contest. Still Alport continued to probe looking for that second goal and Luke Walley almost created it too when he turned a defender inside out to land a plum centre for Hughes but he could only direct his effort at a grateful Fletcher.

Parton was less busy in the second period but he still worked to push out a Jordan Lorde free kick with 10 minutes left.