NEWCOMERS MBNA stayed in contention for promotion from the Carlsberg West Cheshire League's Division Three following an impressive 5-0 victory at Ellesmere Port Res.
Ben Carrigan and Paul Hallows each scored twice, with an effort from Tim Forman completing the scoreline as the fourth-placed Chester outfit remain handily poised, four points adrift of second-placed West Kirby.
A sparkling treble from Ben Billington was supplemented by a goal from Paul Lilburn as Upton AA Res celebrated a welcome 4-1 result over relegation-threatened Manor Athletic Res.
In Division Two, Christleton Res returned from high-flying Cammell Laird Res a point better off after Eden Fenlon found the net in a tense 1-1 stalemate. Christleton's first team would have taken the same score in their Cheshire FA Amateur Cup second-round tussle with Castrol Social, but extra time and a possible replay were dismissed after the Oilmen plundered an injury-time winner.
Andy Shelton's effort was cancelled out by Robbie Sheppard before Neil Clarke emerged with Castrol's last-gasp winner.
It was the end of the road also for Division Three promotion hopefuls Chester Nomads, who took on Division Two counterparts Mond Rangers and turned in a gritty performance, only to lose out 2-1, despite a fine goal from Mark Kerr. On the bright side, Upton AA, who enjoyed a fine run in last season's competition, progressed after putting paid to Warrington Borough with two-goal Simon Andrews playing the anchor role in the 2-1 triumph.
Saturday's Chester Senior Cup first-round action proved a stroll in the park for Blacon YC, who eliminated Chester League Club Frodsham United 5-0 at Cairns Crescent, courtesy of strikes from Todd Reid (2), Andy Owens, Craig Warrington and Russ Whitely.
Carlsberg West Cheshire League Division Three side Grange Athletic, who are currently in bottom spot and in danger of dropping out of the league, confounded their critics on Saturday after taking the scalp of current Manchester League Premier Division leaders Wilmslow Albion in the Cheshire FA Amateur Cup 2nd round. Efforts from Peter Reynolds, Peter Martin and an own goal were enough for the Ellesmere Port battlers to post a 3-2 victory.
Ellesmere Port bowed out after losing 2-0 at Bollington Athletic, but with extra time and a possible replay looking on the cards, Castrol Social's Neil Clarke banged in an injury-time winner to edge out Chester outfit Christleton, 2-1. Earlier in the game, Andy Shelton had applied the finishing touch for the home side, with Robbie Sheppard on the mark for the Oilmen.
Tom Coan and Ian Cross were on target for Willaston, but their efforts were to no avail as visitors Knutsford ran out 4-2 victors, and it was a similar tale of woe for Capenhurst Villa, who went down by the same margin at Poulton Victoria despite efforts from Nick Cushing and Chris Dodds.
On the domestic scene, there was relief at last for Division One champions Vauxhall Motors Res, who won for the first time in thirteen outings and moved out of the bottom two, after savouring a 4-1 victory over Liverpool visitors Aintree Villa. Hero of the hour was three goal hotshot Dave Davies, who was joined on the scoresheet by Ryan Crawford in a comprehensive win as the Motormen consigned neighbours Castrol Social to second from bottom.
Capenhurst Villa Res continue to struggle in their fight to stay in the league. Paul Ainsworth hit the target for Cape's second string, but his efforts were to no avail as Mersey Royal, inspired by brothers Peter (3) and Robbie (2) Courtney, called the shots in a 6-1 rout.