North West Counties League Division One South

Cheadle Town 4

Ellesmere Rangers 1

Despite claiming a convincing win in their Boxing Day fixture, Ellesmere Rangers were unable to make it two consecutive victories as they were unable to overcome hosts Cheadle Town on Saturday.

Rhys Clooney scored goals either side of the break to net a hat-trick for the home team, with Adam Davies scoring a penalty in response for Rangers.

Benjamin Brooks got Town’s fourth and final goal in the last 10 minutes of the game to round off the win.

Rangers looked to pick up where they left off on Boxing Day after their 4-2 win over Eccleshall, and almost did so when they came close after just 10 minutes.

A quick counterattack lead to Ellesmere breaking through the middle of the pitch to put themselves three on two in their opponents’ final third, only for the eventual strike to rattle the crossbar.

After 20 minutes of play, it was Ellesmere who looked the more likely side to score, with a handful of efforts being pushed away by the hosts’ goalkeeper, and a chance struck over the bar.

They were left to rue their missed chances however, when the referee awarded a penalty to Town .

Clooney stepped up and scored what would be his first of three on the afternoon.

It wasn’t long until Cheadle doubled their lead when Clooney produced an impressive solo effort to bag his second.

With less than 10 minutes remaining until the break, Clooney picked up the ball in the middle of the pitch and set out on a powerful run before firing a left-footed strike into the roof of the net.

Rangers had no answer for the two goals, despite looking the better side for parts of the first half, and the sides went into half-time with the score 2-0 to Cheadle.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first, with Rangers still determined to take the game to their opponents, despite the two-goal deficit.

Their best chance came early on when a cross floated into the penalty area from the left was met by an Ellesmere head, but the mistimed jump meant the effort went wide.

Chances were harder to come by for both sides in the opening exchanges, but after growing back into the game, Town soon had their third.

Clooney was the man on the scoresheet again, completing his hat-trick when he got on the end of a Ben Christopher pass and slotted home.

Almost instantly, Rangers were given a chance to reduce the goal margin when the referee awarded the second penalty of the afternoon to the visitors.

Davies made no mistake and found the net to make it 3-1.

Not long after the goal, Rangers were denied a way back into the game after goalkeeper Danny Whiting pulled off a great save from close-range to deny an almost certain goal for Rangers.

His save proved to be important, however served as a warning sign to his side that the game wasn’t over just yet.

With five minutes to go, Town made sure they put the game beyond any doubt when they made it 4-1.

Brooks was quick to react to a loose ball near the goal, and was able to poke it into the net for the final goal.

Aside from a late effort from Christopher which sailed over the crossbar, the game had no more notable chances and Town took the three points.

Following their win over Eccleshall last week, Rangers have lifted themselves off the foot of the table into 19th place.

They now sit on 10 points, five behind Maine Road.

An inspired end to 2018 has seen the side pick up two wins and a draw from their last six games in all competitions.

They face Cammell Laird 1907 away on Saturday and take on bottom-placed Stone Dominoes at home on Tuesday, January a fixture that could prove vital for their hopes to remain in the league come the end of the season.

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