North West Counties Football League

Division One South

Ellesmere Rangers 0

FC Oswestry Town 1

Ellesmere Rangers remain in the bottom two of the North West Counties Football League Division One South after their hearts were broken nine minutes from time to give FC Oswestry the bragging rights in a tight north Shropshire derby.

A Steve Evans goal in the 81st minute was enough to wrap up all three points for the visitors, with many of the 102-strong crowd at Beech Grove expecting the clash to end goalless in a tight affair.

The defeat leaves Rangers still two points from safety behind Alsager Town, although the Meresiders would have been comforted by the fact that St Martins remain five points behind them, having played two more games.

The Park Hall side were comfortably beaten 4-1 at home by Stone Old Alleynians, despite going ahead but only leading for a minute.

Rangers are five points behind Barnton, but have two games in hand on them, and know that a run of results could see them pull away from danger, but will be left wondering what if over a lost point on Saturday.

They will aim to bounce back immediately when they welcome St Martins to Beech Grove for another north Shropshire derby.

Victory for Rangers would surely all-but-condemn the Saints to relegation back to the West Midlands Regional League, bar any end-of-season changes.

Kick-off is at 3pm and another bumper crowd is expected.

Three days later, Rangers will travel to Wythenshaw Amateurs in what will be a tough clash and anything but defeat would be seen a positive result.

A week later, Rangers are on their travels again to New Mills on Saturday, March 21 before three days after that, they will also travel to Abbey Hey for their fourth game in 10 days.

The fixtures will come thick and fast over the coming month following the numerous postponements courtesy of storms Ciara and Dennis last month.

Meanwhile, Vauxhall Motors moved to within two wins of guaranteed promotion on Saturday when they beat Barnton, providing a boost to Rangers along the way.

West Midlands Regional League

Premier Division

Wem Town 3

Worcester Raiders 1

Wem Town saw their hopes of staying in the West Midlands Regional League Premier Division get a huge boost with an outstanding home win over Worcester Raiders on Saturday.

The Bowensfield men have been in better form in recent weeks, with their consistency affected by the call-offs through storms Ciara and Dennis but a return to the Butler Sports Centre this weekend proved to be just the tonic.

The Reds picked up all three points through a goal from Matthew Cohen, with Worcester levelling early in the second half through Kyle Belmonte.

But two second strikes from Chris Peel and James Griffiths was enough to seal the win for the Reds.

A club spokesman said: “A great win today for the lads, after conceding an early equaliser in the second half. The lads responded well with two late goals to get the [win].”

The win leaves Wem in the bottom three but having cut Shawbury United’s lead over them to five points, although their near-neighbours picked up an unlikely point at home to Black Country Rangers.

Dudley Sports remained rooted to the bottom-of-the-table after they were beaten 2-1 by rivals Dudley Town last Tuesday and then 4-0 at home to Darlaston Town (1874).

Wem will be looking to put a run together to overhaul Shawbury – who still have games in hand on their rivals – when they return to action on March 21, against Wednesfield at home. Then four days later, they will travel to Smethwick Rangers for an away game.

Shifnal Town maintained their lead at the top at six points over second-placed Bewldey Town, who beat Wolverhapton Casuals 2-0, with a smashing 6-0 win at Smethwick, while Dudley Town kept themselves in third with a second 2-1 away win of the week at Cradley, who are now nine points behind Wem with three games in hand.

In other results, Bilston Town beat Littleton 2-0 away, and Pershore Town won 2-1 at home to AFC Bridgnorth.

On Saturday, Shifnal face Littleton, having faced Allscott Heath in the Shropshire Senior Cup.

Cheshire Football league

League One

Maine Road Reserves 0

Malpas 1

Malpas are up to sixth in the Cheshire Football League League One after recording a fourth straight win with a superb, classic away showing at Maine Road Reserves.

The single-goal victory came after Malpas put 10 past Offord two weeks ago, and meant they carried through the whole of February undefeated.

The seventh win of the season means they are now in sixth place, three points behind Saturday’s opponents, but have five games in hand on them.

Malpas are are now 15 points behind Windle Labour – the last team to beat them in January – and while there is no expectation of a promotion race, the Wrexham Road side can certainly cause a few jitters.

And that starts with a home clash against leaders Winstanley Warriors on Saturday at the Oxhays.

The Warriors stretched their lead at the top-of-the-table with a 3-1 home win over Cheadle as Vulcan beat Labour in the cup.

Shropshire Premier Division

Hopesgate United 3

Prees United 2

Prees United’s hopes of revenge were dashed on Saturday when they were edged out by Hopesgates United in a Shropshire Premier Division five-goal thriller.

The Rec Men suffered a surprise defeat to Hopesgate earlier in the season but were hoping to restore their symmetrical season of exact wins and losses.

However, the north Shropshire side recorded a ninth defeat of the season with the 3-2 loss.

It was just the home side’s fourth victory of the season.

On Saturday, the Rec Men will be looking for a seventh win, or even a first draw, when they host Madeley Sports.

Meanwhile, champions and champions-elect Shrewsbury Juniors are still top with a goal difference of 100 plus, but in the other two fixtures, Madeley drew 2-2 with Telford Juniors and Wrockwardine Wood beat Brown Clee 1-0.