Middlewich Town 2, Greenall's Padgate 1: MIDDLEWICH Town remain at the top of the First Division of the Mid Cheshire League after seeing off Greenall's Padgate.
Town went into the game shorne of five first teamers, with Craig Stevens suspended and Gary Bryning, Graham Kay, Lee Murphy and Lee Duck-worth away, though Murphy dashed back from Blackburn to make the subs bench.
But those who pulled on the red shirts did assistant boss Mike Alcock proud as Town continued their excellent recent run.
Town bossed the opening exchanges and John Edwards put them ahead on 25 minutes. Michael Sand-bach got away on the right and put in a low cross that Edwards side-footed home from 12 yards.
It got better 10 minutes later when a through ball from Ryan Broadhead found Mike Brandon who latched onto it and took it around the visiting keeper. Brandon nearly made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time when his goal-bound header was cleared off the line.
Town's dominance did not continue in the second half as tired legs began to take their toll, and Greenall's Padgate pulled one back on 65 minutes with their only shot of the game.
But aside from that, home keeper Kevin Whitehead had little to do, and the visiting keeper was the busier of the two as Town took advantage of breakaways to test him.
Alcock said: 'We were struggling to put a team out - we couldn't afford to lose anyone else or I would have had to pull on my boots.
'I am delighted with the result as it was probably one of our biggest of the season. They were fourth in the league and had a couple of games in hand so they were genuine challengers to us.'
TOWN: Whitehead, Shore, Dyson, Rogerson (Murphy, 70), Tutt, Broad-head, Sandbach, Whitney, Roberts, Brandon, Edwards.