North West Counties Football League Division One South

Ellesmere Rangers 2

St Martins 0

ELLESMERE Rangers claimed the bragging rights after picking up a win against St Martins in the north Shropshire derby on Saturday.

Rangers climbed out of the relegation zone after scoring a goal either side of half-time to comfortably beat bottom-placed Saints, who are now seriously facing the possibility of relegation.

Former St Martins man, Karl Bailey, opened the scoring for Ellesmere to give the hosts an early lead.

And it was another former St Martins player who came back to haunt the visitors in the second half, when Tawanda Melusi scored Ellesmere’s second of the afternoon to double their lead and claim the win.

It was a match of huge importance for both sides, who at the start of the game were both in the relegation zone.

Early in the afternoon, it was the hosts who looked the stronger of the two sides, with a chance for player/manager Connor Courtney going close in the opening 10 minutes.

Rangers had a great chance to put themselves ahead when Saints stopper George Austin brought down Bailey inside the 18-yard-box, giving away a penalty.

Jack Briscoe stepped up to take the spot kick, but blasted his effort over the crossbar, giving the away team a lifeline.

However, the home team got the lead just a matter of minutes later when a dangerous corner sailed towards the back post and into the path of the onrushing Bailey who bundled the ball over the line to make it 1-0.

There was controversy after the goal, with the St Martins players and staff on the sideline adamant that there was a handball in the build-up to the goal.

The goal stood and Saints looked to draw level before half-time, but some strong defending from the Meresiders meant they were unable to do so.

After the break, the game turned on its head with St Martins enjoying a handful of chances early on.

They came close on several occasions, but some good last-ditch defending from the Ellesmere men denied them an equaliser.

Out of nowhere, Rangers sprung back into life and were denied by the woodwork after Melusi’s strike just after an hour on the clock passed.

Just minutes later however, Melusi found himself with another good opportunity, and the tricky winger made sure he did not spurn this one. A long-range effort from Dave Howarth bounced back off the woodwork and into the path of Melusi who passed the ball into the net to make it 2-0.

Aside from a late chance for Briscoe, the game lacked any exciting action late on, and Rangers took the three points to move up to 18th.

They face New Mills away on Saturday. Meanwhile, St Martins remain bottom with eight points between them and safety. They host Cheadle Heath Nomads on Saturday.

The Cup

Semi-final (first leg)

FC Oswestry Town 0

AFC Liverpool 3

IT WILL take a huge performance in the second leg for FC Oswestry Town to reach the final of the Cup after a nightmare first leg saw visiting side AFC Liverpool take a three-goal advantage in the tie.

An evenly-contested first half was followed by a one-sided second half, during which the Liverpool men found the net on three occasions.

Oswestry now know only a victory by a margin of four goals in the second leg of the tie would see them through to the final.

Both sides struggled to create many chances early on, and played out a rather quiet first half.

With neither side taking too many risks, they headed into the break with the score still at 0-0.

But the second half proved much more entertaining for the crowd of almost 100 at Park Hall Stadium, with more attacking football on display.

The deadlock was broken by the visitors shortly after the hour-mark with an eye-catching effort.

Forward Kyle Scorah lived up to his surname, and found the net with a stunning strike from 25 yards out which flew into the far corner of the goal.

His strike brought the game to life, and proved to be just the start of the action when his side doubled their advantage 15 minutes later.

With just eight minutes left on the clock, a goal kick from David Potter went beyond the Oswestry defence and was met by midfielder Rhys Hardacre who was quickest to react to the long ball.

Rushing towards goal, Hardacre was able to get to the ball before Town’s keeper and managed to loft the ball over the stopper and into an empty net.

Town may have still had a good chance of a comeback in the second leg of the tie had the score stayed at 2-0; however the visitors were able to add a third goal to give Oswestry an even more difficult task.

Dan Cockerline rounded off the win with his 90th minute strike, before the referee called a stop to the game with the score at 3-0.

Town are currently scheduled to face AFC Liverpool away in the second leg on Friday (kick-off 8pm).

Shropshire Premier League

Brown Clee 0

Gobowen Celtic 1

A GOAL from manager Jamie Roberts was enough for Gobowen Celtic to pick up a win over bottom-of-the-table side Brown Clee on Saturday.

It was a below-par performance from the Gobowen men, but the win means they sit in third place with two games in hand over second-placed Wellington Amateurs Development.

Celtic’s afternoon was made a little more difficult after a red card left them a player short for part of the match, but the 10-men did enough to get their side over the line.

Gobowen will be without a game on Saturday, and are scheduled to play their next league game at home against eighth in the table Albrighton on Saturday, March 28 (kick-off 3pm).

Celtic’s match was one of three played in the Shropshire Premier League on Saturday.

The most entertaining game of the day was played out between Albrighton and Telford Juniors Reserves.

Telford managed to pick up a 4-3 away win to move further away from the foot of the table.

They remain 10th after picking up just three wins from their 14 games. The other game saw Hopesgate United beat Wrockwardine Wood Juniors 4-1.

FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands

The New Saints Ladies 4

Sporting Khalsa 2

AFTER coming back from a goal down, The New Saints Ladies team moved to level on points with third place after a home win over Sporting Khalsa on Sunday.

Saints conceded early in the afternoon, but were able to find the net twice before the break to turn the scoreline on its head.

A further two goals for TNS after half-time secured the victory and helped them keep the pressure on Bedworth United and Birmingham & West Midlands in third and second place.

The early goal put the Saints players on the back foot for a short period in the first half, but as they grew back into the game, it was clear they would not be behind for long.

In-form Katie Doster kept up her good goal-scoring form to bring TNS level, before Zoe Griffiths got a second goal for the hosts shortly afterwards to give her side a one-goal advantage at the break.

The home side were eager to increase their lead and were celebrating again after the break when Jess Jennings got the third goal of the afternoon for her team.

Despite Khalsa netting another goal, Laura Pennington’s strike to give TNS their fourth goal of the day proved to be enough to secure the victory for Saints.

Saints will keep looking to push up the table as the season starts to approach its end.

Their next match will take place on Sunday when they take on Leafield Athletic away (kick-off 2pm).

The following game will see them host Lincoln City on March 29.