AFTER seven years as undisputed champions of the Mid Cheshire League Barnton are set to hand over their crown.

From being in an unassailable position they have lost five out of their last six games and can do nothing about Middlewich - or Poynton - overtaking them.

Barnton have 59 points with a game left while Middlewich have 56 and four games to go and Poynton 53 with five to play. But Barnton have the semi-final of the National Systems Cup in Cornwall to look forward to on Saturday.

They represent the MCL and face the Carlsberg South West's St Blazey who reached the fifth round of this year's FA Vase.

Middlewich Town 3 Garswood Town 1: MIDDLEWICH emerged as the Mid Cheshire League title favourites after dismissing Garswood in a one-sided first half.

Rob Hopley crossed for Joey Roberts to force the ball over the line in the second minute and Middlewich were in command when Les Miranda sped clear of the defence and round the goalkeeper in the 10th minute.

Mark Tomlinson cracked the ball home from outside the penalty area in 35 minutes to register his first goal of the season.

With the game won, Middlewich could not find the same impetus after the break and Garswood claimed a consolation goal near the finish.

'We were comfortable - now all we have to do is win our remaining games and the title is ours,' said manager Terry Murphy.

Barnton 0 Crewe 2: Barnton, beaten at home in midweek by Knutsford 3-1, crashed again.

They started well and were much the better side in the opening exchanges, but missed early chances which would have given the match a different complexion.

Crewe scored in their first attack: a deep ball into the box was not cleared and it was driven home at the back post.

Confidence drained from the home side and Crewe were then sharper all round. Barnton could not be faulted for effort, but whatever they tried failed. Crewe doubled their lead in the last 15 minutes. Barnton were going all out for the equaliser when a misplaced pass across the midfield left Crewe clear and they made no mistake.

Other results: Two - Winsford Res 0 Padgate 7; Witton Res 0 Trafford Res 0; Reserves - Pilkington 1 Middlewich 1. Saturday: One - Knutsford v Middlewich; Two - Witton Res v Gamesley, Winsford Res v Club AZ; Reserves - Crosfield v Middlewich.