NICK Hemmings reckons his Hare and Gate Strollers side could have a major say in the destination of this season's Premier Division title in the Leek and District Sunday League.
Strollers chalked up their first win of the season on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over Valiant. And with the likes of summer additions Wayne Corden, James Brough and former Crewe Alex keeper Mark Rivers within their ranks the manager believes his side can now push on up the league.
"We were unlucky in the first two games and should have come away with a full quota of points," insisted Hemmings. "I think we can have a massive say in the final outcome of the league. It's a tight division. Blue Mugge on Sunday is a massive test for us. It's a good benchmark for us to see how far off or how close we are. We'll be positive and try to get a result."
Matt Gilman struck the opener for Strollers on 29 minutes against Valiant - who would have elevated themselves to second with victory. Jamie McNicholas levelled just two minutes later. But Gilman struck again 60 seconds into the second half and Dave Bailey added a third for Strollers minutes later. Valiant pulled one back through Lee Fower on the hour mark, but despite having a man sent off Strollers held on for all three ;points.
Elmo's Celtic continue to make the early season running following a 4-1 win at Waterhouses. Matt Anderson and Dave Bell on 10 minutes and 25 minutes respectively got Celtic off to a flyer. Waterhouses came out fighting for the second half and an early Andy Barleyman penalty pegged Celtic bag. Waterhouses were well on top but a breakaway strike from Will Bown with 11 minutes remaining put distance between the sides. And they were finally killed off by a disputed goal from Jamie Pointon with four minutes left.
AFC Blue Mugge moved second after hammering Athletico Rag 7-1. Mike Keates, Greg Johnson, and Richie Goldstraw were all on target inside the first 20 minutes. Ben Knight and Johnson added further goals before the hour and Eddie Ellis netted a sixth on 72 minutes. Athletico did bag a consolation before Darren Bloor completed the rout in the dying minutes.
In Division One Wellington maintained their advantage at the top of Division One with victory over Biddulph Town Diamonds. The match was marred by an early injury to Diamonds keeper Gordon Potts who suffered a suspected broken ankle.
Following a lengthy delay Diamonds held on for 20 minutes before Sam Tomson (two), Erol Nazli (two), Jordan Mason and Nick Webster sealed a comfortable win.
Unicorn stay second after beating Royal Oak Rushton 4-2 through goals from Matt Rushton, Darren Byram, Steve Byram and Matt Cook. Stanleys got their second victory after beating Leek Snooker Centre 1-0. Shane Charlesworth scored the only goal on 78 minutes.