Alderley Edge travelled to York in the North Premier league at the weekend, following on from back-to-back wins and facing the leagues bottom side. However, York did have a couple of new overseas recruits in their line up and had showed improved form of late.
In the opening exchanges both teams had clear chances to score, with only seconds on the clock Sam Gregory broke through but hit his reverse stick shot across the face of the goal. Moments later he played in brother Ben, who with the goal at his mercy blazed over the bar. Almost immediately York sprang an attack and a close range deflection was kept out by James Riley in the Alderley goal.
Alderley repeatedly put the back line of York under pressure, but against the run of play York attacked in numbers and created an overload at the back of the D and the York player kept his composure to open the scoring. The game was level soon after when good build up play in the midfield gave Kieren Hall space and he powered a pass into the D where Adam Wildig produced a superb deflected finish.
Both sides pressed on but no clear scoring opportunities were created and penalty corners were squandered. Kay was then sin binned for a technical offence but Alderley continued to look forward and on the stroke of half time a clever aeriel pass found Warburton unmarked in the D, as he collected the ball the 'keeper infringed and Alderley were awarded a penalty corner. From the corner Jackson elected to take the ball wide and he fired in a reverse stick strike that Sam Gregory got the faintest of touches on to give Alderley the half time lead.
York came out spirited in the second half but Badger was have a fine game defensively and with Alderley holding their structure chances were initially limited to crosses flashed across the goal. York then won a couple of corners but the routines either broke down or were saved. Then York were given a lifeline as Hall was adjudged to deliberately foul in the D and a penalty stroke was awarded. Riley pulled off the save to keep Alderley in front.
This seemed to take the wind out of York's sails and with Rob Hughes once again impressing in the middle of the pitch their seemed only one winner. Alderley sealed the points when another aeriel ball set Ben Gregory free and he drew the last defender before passing square across the face of goal where Sam Gregory slid in to bundle the ball over the line. York lost their discipline and saw a player sin binned for the last ten minutes allowing Alderley to see out the game and take another three points.
The second team got back to winning ways in North Division 2, with a fine 3-2 victory over University of Liverpool, with goals coming from Matt Hardy from open play, Chris Hardy with a penalty corner and a Julian Scarsbrook penalty stroke. The game was competitive throughout but Alderley's experience shone through.
The high flying 3s travelled to lowly Runcorn with a depleted squad that was reduced to a bare 11 with an injury in warm up, but still drew 2-2 and having a third goal chalked off. This gives them a 5 point lead in first place. Will Hughes and Andy Walker were the scorers.
The 4s were in dominant form against title rivals Neston, winning 6-0 with 3 goals either side of half time. Louis Godfrey scored a hat-trick. Danny Farrer and James Ireland were also on target. Richard Williams had an eventful game after having the opening goal disallowed, missing an open goal before eventually scoring the sixth. The likely title decider is next week away at Denbigh 1s.
The 5th team eased past Knutsford 4-0 in a game played in atrocious weather conditions. Robert Thompson and Ali Smith, who had another impressive game, both scored twice. They remain one point off top spot.
The 6th team went down 1-0 to Brooklands 5s and the 7th team lost 2-1 to Wilmslow 4th team.
Match report by Ben Whitehead.