Whitchurch Alport's place in the Premier division was secured a few weeks ago so they could have been forgiven for simply going through the motions for their remaining matches.

And it looked like that may have been the case on Saturday when Winsford United gave them the runaround in a one sided second half to win 3–0. It was Alport's worst home display of the season but fast forward 48 hours and a completely different performance brought about a one-goal win against Runcorn Town.

Top scorer Alex Hughes was at it again for Luke Goddard's men with a strike early in the second period and it was Alport who looked likely to add to the scoring.

Only two games remain for the Reds and both are away from home. The much maligned fixture against 1874 Northwich will take place tomorrow night after a bizarre first attempt a week ago. Trailing 2–0 and a long way second best, the half time whistle couldn't come quickly enough for an out of sorts Alport side. Then a floodlight failure during the break led to the match being abandoned meaning the two sides have to try again tomorrow. On Saturday, Whitchurch will wrap up their campaign with a trip to Charnock Richard before a Huddersfield cup final on Friday week.

Lea Edge is part of the management team at Yockings, and like many at the club he was left scratching his head as to why the side put in such an abject performance against relegation battlers Winsford. "The two games sum up our season. We were poor on the Saturday and then Monday we dug deep and took the points.

Our record against the lower teams at home does not make good reading, yet against the top teams we have delivered in the main." Continued on page 39

"We are struggling going forward as a team with the final pass not coming off generally. When we get on the ball and move it quickly we can cause any team problems."

Edge has a point. Superb against City of Liverpool last week Alport got nowhere near the level of performance required to win football matches against Winsford who completed the league double over the Yockings men.

"I expected that game to start with a high tempo and to be on the front foot right from the outset. It was a baking hot day and the players showed obvious signs of fatigue but in summary we got exactly what we deserved and the fans weren't happy – understandably so.

"They were scrapping for their lives and it looked like they wanted it more than us and that hurts everyone here not just the supporters. We had to bounce back against Runcorn who are another side higher up the table than us and I thought we were excellent value for the win."

Edge was recently given the task of working on Alport set plays so the irony wasn't lost on him that Winsford scored two of their own puzzling everyone involved.

He added: "We switched off at set pieces defensively and we had been up until that point really sound in front of our goalkeeper. Their second and third goals were a joke and yet contrast that with an almost impeccable display two days later.

Our fans must have been wondering which Alport side would turn out for the bank holiday Monday game and yet by deploying Darren Campion in a holding midfielder role it sharpened us up no end. When Hughesy put us in front we had something to defend but far from sitting back and inviting them onto us, we were the only side who looked like scoring again."

Lea is expecting two difficult matches and in particular the one at 74: "there's something about going to Winsford that mentally our boys struggle with. It's a truly horrible place to go – the pitch, the lights, there's no vibe there at all and I would expect a footballing side like 74 don't like playing there either! We will have to try and keep our shape and work hard all over the pitch. Going forward we have to do more. I have been pleased with our defensive side generally over the past couple of months but far too often we have been guilty of not taking our chances, so offensively there's plenty of work to do. We will be working on improving team structure and we know we have a dedicated group, but after having sampled this division we will need to put right the wrongs. This season was all about consolidation with stabilisation key to ensure we retained our place in the league. On our day we have shown that we can go toe to toe with all the leading lights in the division. Our Achilles heel has been against the bottom sides where we have come up short way too often."