Tonight’s opponents were on paper our toughest test to date, and so it proved as what followed was a tough game in which we superbly battled to a great hard fought win against Ellesmere Port fc.
The first 15 minutes we attacked at will, S.Phillips hitting a corner which narrowly evaded the onrushing Liam Rose at the far post, moments later Leslie played in Rose with a great thru ball, Rose struck a clever cross on the floor to the back post which Stu Hardman just missed sliding in at last moment.
We were not to be denied as with 20 minutes on the clock Alfie Textas who was making his full debut showed superb skill by beating his man inside out and placing an inch perfect cross in the box which Liam Rose met and superbly lobbed the ball over the keeper to give us a deserved lead 1-0.
This galvanised us even more and Curran put in a meaty challenge in the centre which got us going even more, Machin who was everywhere today followed that up with 2 great tackles on the bounce and released Liam Rose who after advancing inside the box just failed to get a shot away as he was tackled last minute.
Then like against all decent teams a spell of pressure was placed on us for a good 15 minutes but the back 3 stood firm Bryan, Easterbrook and Edge all made important interceptions and clearances as well as Jimmy Rainford in goal coming off his line and punching clear on numerous occasions.
Towards the back end of the half we had a number of chances to increase our lead, first Rose again found himself clear but to his credit their keeper pulled off a great save, seconds after that we should have been 2 goals to the good as a Hardman shot was saved, Phillips looked to pounce on the follow up but his effort was again saved well and put out for a corner. The resulting corner was volleyed high and wide by Textas.
Second half was a tight affair for the first 20 as we worked our socks off all over the pitch to close down and stop attacks from happening, none more so than Kevin Machin who ran his balls off, harassing, tackling and running with the ball the lad was superb tonight.
Hardman was showing signs of a possible goal with his menacing runs and relentless harrying of their backline but his effort just missed the far post with the keeper scrambling to save.
With 25 to go Ryan Smith came on for Dave Leslie who was carrying an injury to his knee and Sean Phillips who was struggling for breath came off to be replaced by Lee O’Donnell.
We looked to get the goal which would calm our nerves down and Alfie Textas on a number of occasions showed unbelievable feet making his opponents dizzy going one way then the other, shortly after a tremendous run he took a knock on his hip and was replaced by his brother Philly Lennon.
Michael Edge and his comrades Philly Bryan and Matthew Easterbrook at the back were superb all match tackle after tackle clearance after clearance, as much as we were desperate for that second goal they were just as desperate for that clean sheet.
Then it happened Philly Lennon showed great composure sprinting down the wing taking on players and played a ball thru to the middle to Curran, 30 yards from goal he showed great feet by taking it round 2 players, staying up on his feet after a foul he played a simple ball to the edge of the area to that man Liam Rose who took a touch turned past the player and rifled a terrific shot past the keeper 2-0.
Tom Briggs entered the fray in Liam’s place and with 10 minutes left on the clock we reverted to 4,4,2 as Curran took a nasty knock on his ankle after a late challenge Harper coming on and slotting well into a back four to see the game out.
Which is exactly what happened a great 3 points and performance everyone gave their all tonight and it was well deserved, M.O.M was Kevin Machin who was outstanding all game…the Dell train keeps on rolling, long may it continue.