Title races going down to the wire

THERE were some vital matches involving races for divisional titles and cup semi-finals on an exciting day as the season reaches a dramatic finale.

The Premier Division title is now in the hands of De La Salle Reds as a hard-earned 2-0 derby win over Salford Vics moved them to within two points of leaders Moston Brook.

A win in their final game against Abacus Media will secure the title for De La Salle and they will be looking to make it a double as they take on Moston Brook in the Rhodes Cup final at Hyde United on Saturday May 7.

The other game in the Premier division saw Rochdalians beat Abacus Media 2-0 in another local derby.

The Division One league programme was completed at Irlam Tigers who lost out 2-1 to Shaw Athletic.

In the Harry Jack Cup for teams in Division One, Didsbury and Old Stretfordians battled out a close contest with the smart finishing from Didsbury led by a double from the predatory Aaron Rodger taking them to a 4-1 win.

Division Two is far from decided especially with night games still in the mix. Long-time leaders Hattersley have seen their lead reduced and following teams have games in hand.

In midweek Eccles United eased to a 5-1 win over South Manchester and the only Saturday league game saw Stretford Paddock reserves cruising to a 4-1 win over Sale Ams.

The big game between sides in this division came in the Wray Cup semi-final between Baguley Athletic and Eccles United who had both enjoyed successful campaigns in the Manchester Amateur Cup.

Baguley always had the edge and clinical finishing by Ben Boyne (two) and Lee Hendley took them through to the final where they will play Hattersley at Wythenshawe Ams on May 3.

In Division Three it is all down to the final game of the season between Village Manchester and Aldermere but only a huge win for Village can see them overtake leaders Chadderton Park on goal difference.

Village kept in the race with a 3-1 win at Woodhouses and the other game in the division saw Stoconians beat Elton Lib Hargreaves 3-1 to keep up their recent run of good form.

With North Walkden reserves in Whitehead Cup action, Salford Storm took advantage with a 5-2 win over Milnrow Firgrovia moving them a point clear at the top of Division A with a game in hand.

Milton reserves also beat Stretford Paddock Development 5-2 but the other games were close affairs.

Santos kept up their hot streak of form with a 20th-minute strike from Ryan McConlie securing a 1-0 win over Trafford United reserves.

Great Manchester FC drew 1-1 with AFC Oldham reserves and Moston Brook reserves shared four goals with Kartel Sports who can still have a big say in the title race.

North Walkden reserves still have a league and cup double firmly in their sights as they cruised into the Whitehead Cup final with a 4-0 semi win over Hillgate featuring goals from Mark Trent, Aiden Hassall and Steve Binns.

They will play Kartel in the final at West Didsbury and Chorlton on May 10.

In Division B, champions Aldermere reserves completed their superb season with a 2-2 derby draw against Old Strets reserves.

Heaton Mersey have enjoyed a great second half to their season  and they virtually confirmed their runners-up berth with a convincing 6-2 win at AFC Oldham reserves and Flixton JFC also hit six with a 6-3 win at Oldham Saints.

It’s still all to play for in Division C with Mellor reserves chasing down long-time leaders Dukinfield Athletic.

A big 8-2 win over Urmston Town Vale moved Mellor to within 11 points of Dukinfield with games in hand.

The other league games saw Eccles United reserves beat AFC Stockport Warriors 2-0 and Altrincham Hale had an emphatic 5-1 win over Bury Ams reserves.

Midweek action had Salford Storm reserves sharing eight goals with Eccles United reserves and Bury Ams reserves easing to a 2-0 win over Village Manchester reserves.

In the Hellawell Shield semi-final it went right to the death as Govan Athletic Development scored the only goal of their game against Bury Ams A.

They await the result of the other semi between Moston Brook fourths and Altrincham Hale reserves to see who they will play at West Didsbury and Chorlton on May 12.

It was all to play for in Division D as leaders Whalley Range hosted Moston Brook fourths.

The star of the show in a hard-fought contest was Range’s legendary striker Nick Doyle who bagged a hat-trick to see his team across the line with Mark Terris providing the Brook consolation.

The only other game in the division saw a rare midweek goalless blank between Irlam Tigers A and Salford Vics Development.