North West Counties Football League

Division One South

St Martins 2

Cammell Laird 1907 0

AFTER five straight defeats, St Martins picked up a hugely-important win over Cammell Laird 1907 as they look to start a survival push.

Goals either side of half-time secured a fifth win of the season for Saints, who will be looking to climb off the bottom of the table with 11 games left to play.

It was the side’s first clean sheet in the league since August, when they won against Cheadle Town in their third game of the season.

The side put in a great performance in Saturday’s game, with the defence proving to be too strong for Lairds.

At the other end of the pitch, it was the perfect start for the hosts when they opened the scoring after just 10 minutes.

George Austin denied the visitors in the opening minutes with an acrobatic save to keep the scores level, before sending his side up the other end of the pitch to score the opening goal of the game.

Joseph Foster was able to split the Lairds back line with a well-timed through ball, allowing William Wells to chip the ball into the bottom corner.

Saints looked in fine form after the goal, but failed to double their lead before the break.

The defence stood strong and denied any chances the visitors had.

After the break, the game continued in similar fashion with the hosts enjoying more of the ball and the best chances.

It was not until the 64th minute that St Martins edged further ahead on the scoreline.

Foster, who was the provider for the first goal, got a goal of his own with an eye-catching effort to make it 2-0.

Saints looked to hold onto their two-goal advantage, with the defence, organised by Jeffery Agyeman, keeping their concentration right until the final whistle to keep hold of their clean sheet.

Victory for St Martins brings them closer to safety, with seven points now separating them and 18th-placed Alsager Town.

They will look to make it back to back wins for the first time since the start of the season when they face league leaders Vauxhall Motors at home on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

JD Cymru Premier

Bala Town 1

The New Saints 1

THE New Saints lost their spot at the top of the table after they had to settle for a point in their Friday night fixture against Bala Town.

Scott Ruscoe’s men had a nightmare start at Maes Tegid after they went a goal down after just five minutes.

A second-half penalty from Ryan Brobbel helped to rescue a point for Saints, who have picked up one point from six in their first two phase two fixtures.

Saints would have been prepared for a tough game, as they travelled to face a Bala side who beat them 3-1 earlier in the season.

The opening exchanges of the game went in the home team’s favour, and a stroke of bad luck for Ruscoe’s side handed their opponents an early lead.

In the fifth minute, a free-kick from Bala’s Henry Jones was sent into the TNS penalty area. In an attempt to clear the ball, Aeron Edwards miss-timed his header and glanced the ball into his own net.

The early setback was unfortunate for Saints, who immediately took hold of the game and started to enjoy more of the ball.

Bala defended well, however, and TNS struggled to find an opening to draw level.

Their first chance of note came after half-an-hour of play, when Jamie Mullan crossed towards Adrian Cieslewicz who fired his shot over from close range.

Then, with minutes left to play until half-time, Edwards nearly made amends for his own-goal by heading home an equaliser; however his effort sailed over the crossbar.

After the break, Saints continued to push for a goal to bring them level and continued to enjoy most of the possession.

They enjoyed a handful of chances before being given a huge opportunity just before the hour-mark.

Chris Marriott struck a goal-bound effort which caused a handball from a Bala defender, forcing the referee to point to the penalty spot.

Brobbel stepped up and managed to beat the in-form Josh Tibbetts to make it 1-1.

Saints kept pushing for another goal to put themselves ahead, but the inspired back four and goalkeeper for the Lakesiders made life difficult for the Welsh champions.

But TNS came within inches of taking the lead five minutes after Brobbel’s goal, with Jamie Mullan’s cross finding Dean Ebbe, whose header rebounded off the post.

Brobbel nearly found the net with the rebound, but failed to get his shot on target.

Paul Harrison had been quiet between the sticks for the visiting side all evening, but had to remain alert to pull off a vital save with minutes remaining in the game.

The last effort of the game fell to Mullan, who hit a long-range effort in the 92nd minute, but it was put just over the bar.

TNS settled for a draw and now sit a point behind Connah’s Quay Nomads who they face away on Friday (kick-off 8pm).