Leek & District Sunday Football League
ELMOS Celtic faced a tough away game to Rangers Sport & Social club in the semi-final of the Sunday Premier Cup.
Having suffered defeats in the Sentinel Cup quarter-final against Sneyd and in the Macclesfield Cup quarter-final against Valiant Troggs, Elmos were keen to get back to winning ways in the this competition.
Elmos started off the brighter of the two teams as they looked the more energetic and eager of the two teams, but they could not find through the break through they so desperately sought until 35 minutes when Jamie Pointon took a free kick and floated the ball to team mate Matty Anderson who met the ball with a bullet-like header.
Just before half-time, Mitch Shenton doubled Elmos lead with a stunning 25-yard volley.
The second half again saw Elmos start the brighter of the two teams and were rewarded for their efforts as Jimmy McMullen whipped the ball in from a corner that was perfectly placed for Jamie Pointon to head the ball home.
Just when Elmos were coasting, thinking they had won the game, Rangers started to relax and started playing like a team that had nothing to lose and started to attack at every opportunity causing the Elmos defence problems.
Rangers scored after 65 minutes to reduce the deficit and continued to pile the pressure on as they rattled Elmos, but they could not breach the Elmos defence for a second time as they nervously held on to secure their place in the final against Potteries & District side Darcys.
Leek Snooker lost their home advantage in the quarter-final of the Sunday Challenge Trophy having had two games scheduled at Birchall called off due to the weather.
Snooker Centre found themselves behind after only five minutes when Scott Lee netted for Silverdale.
Liam Dan doubled Silverdale's lead before half-time and got his brace 12 minutes into the second half to put Silverdale into a commanding lead.
Snooker Centre manager Graham Tatton said afterwards: "We just didn't turn up today. I think the five to six weeks break, because of the weather, meant we were short of match fitness.
"Silverdale were undoubtedly the better side on the day but on another day, things may have been different."
Three games were played in the Subsidiary Cup.
Wellington United faced Railway Inn, Hare & Gate Strollers took on Dyers Arms FC and Vale Hoppers were opposed by Biddulph Town Diamonds.
Vale Hoppers and Biddulph Town Diamonds met in the league back in October and played out a 2-2 draw in a closely fought game.
However, the return match was totally different.
Sam Dawson and Dan Hopson gave Biddulph a two- goal lead early on in the game to stun Vale Hoppers.
Hoppers grew back in to the game and clawed a goal back thanks to Chris Jackson on 16 minutes and just when they thought they were getting the better of Biddulph, Hoppers had defender Joe Gosling sent off
The second half saw Biddulph take advantage against the 10 men Hoppers side running them ragged at times scoring three goals through Jordan Leonard, Jake Faulkner and Hopson.
Dyers Arms faced stiff competition in Hare & Gate Strollers who were playing their first game in this competition.
A win for Dyers would all but guarantee safe passage to the knockout stage of the competition but Strollers stood in their way.
Both teams registered players shortly before kick-off, with Dyers drafting in Matthew Gee and Nathan Hutchinson and Strollers signing Ryan Sillito and Philip Payandee to bolster their numbers.
Strollers took the lead after only seven minutes thanks to Ben Venables, but Strollers' lead only lasted three minutes, as Matt Gee equalised for Dyers on his debut.
Nick Cooke scored Dyers second to give them the lead and then Dan Evans made it 3-1.
Strollers reduced the deficit before half-time through Keilan Bond.
The second half was all Dyers as they continued to push forward, and they were rewarded for their efforts as Cooke got his second of the game and Tapiwa Sibanda netted to make it 5-3 as Dyers continued their unbeaten run in the Subsidiary Cup.
Wellington United, having lost their first two games in the competition, against leaders Dyers Arms and Waterhouses, needed to get some points on the board in order to have any hope of qualifying for the knockout stage, but Railway Inn stood in their way. The two teams met in the league back in September when Wellington ran out 2-1 winners.
However, the teams have changed significantly since with Railway acquiring Lance Thompson and All Taggell from rivals Vale Hoppers, while Wellington have signed Josh Atkins, George Butcher and Michael Salmon.
Wellington started off the brighter of the two teams with Adam Taylor hitting his shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. Taylor missed another good chance shortly after as the ball bobbled just as he was about to shoot and went harmlessly to the goalkeeper.
Wellington's breakthrough came on 12 minutes when Ricky Barr and new signing Atkins combined well to put Atkins through to score.
Railway equalised 10 minutes later from a free kick which found Joe Burgess unmarked to fire in.
Wellington took the lead in the most bizarre of circumstances. Lynton Varley took a long throw-in which hit the crossbar and rebounded off a Railway defender into the back of the net.
Burgess got his second goal of the game five minutes before half- time to take the teams in level at 2-2.
Wellington seemed to have the better of Railway for large parts of the second half but the Railway defence stood firm.
Having soaked up everything Wellington had to offer, Railway hit the opposition on the break to score through Ben Wilde to make it 3-2.
In the only league game to be played, league leaders Valiant faced a tricky game against last season's Division One winners Wellington who on their day are a match for any team.
Both teams attacked at every opportunity but neither was able to create any clear-cut chances until five minutes before half-time, when Lawrence Hagan scored for Wellington.
Valiant took the interval break to take stock of the situation and to change their tactics, as it was clear Wellington were getting the better of them.
The team talk given by manager Tony McNicholas and club secretary Rob Corden seemed to do the trick, as Valiant came out the second half a different team and were level after 15 minutes, thanks to Joel Dawson.
Ten minutes later, goalkeeper turned defender Billy Sheldon popped up to score his third league goal of the season to give Valiant the lead.
To their credit, Wellington continued to battle and perhaps should have levelled the game with two minutes remaining but missed a great chance.
As a result of this victory, Valiant extended their lead at the top of the table to 10 points over nearest rivals Elmos Celtic.
FIXTURES (MARCH 2)
Macclesfield Cup, quarter-final
Vale Hoppers Vets v Queens.
J W Howson Cup
Valiant v Vale Hoppers
Waterhouses v Dyers Arms; Wellington United v Hare & Gate Strollers; Biddulph Town Diamonds v Wellington;
Leek Snooker Centre v Railway Inn