RELEGATED from Division Two at the end of last season, Willaston have their sights firmly set on a swift return and celebrated Christmas early, thanks to a resounding victory over Mersey Royal.
Inspired by hat-trick hero, Karl Dunbar, they moved into second place in the table after winning 8-0, with further goals from Lee Cairns, Richard Foulkes, Tom Coan, Rob Foulkes and Richard Hughes.
Nearest rivals Merseyside Police Reserves remain a big danger in their debut season and bagged a further three points after goals from RyanEllis (2) and Davie Ramsdale secured a priceless 3-2 result against faltering West Kirby.
Jay Shore and Peter Cavanagh replied for Kirby, who are now six points off the pace and must feel their promotion chances are diminishing by the week.
The battle for promotion from Division Two is beginning to take shape with Capenhurst Villa and New Brighton battling to keep pace with runaway leaders Mond Rangers.
The Runcorn outfit still hold a six point advantage and on Saturday third-placed New Brighton moved to within a point of Capenhurst after eclipsing relegation threatened Blacon YC 2-1, Craig Griffiths and Mike O'Shaughnessy finding the net. Andy Bale scored Blacon's consolation.
At Victoria Park, Poulton Vics Reserves were indebted to goals from Ian Leyland and Cameron Brown for their 2-0 win against Maghull Res.
With the odds on Ellesmere Port being relegated from Division One shortening, there is speculation over who could accompany them through the trapdoor.
Despite having recorded a league double over leaders Heswall, Aintree Villa are finding points hard to come by, but a share of the spoils from Saturday's 2-2 stalemate with Liverpool neighbours Maghull, saw the third-from-bottom side join another four clubs on the 16 point mark.
The outcome was a disappointment for Maghull, who scored through Mike Collins and Lee Bamber, but lost out on the chance to go second in the table. Richie Humphries and Tony Carroll were Aintree's scorers.
Elsewhere, West Kirby had to rely on an own goal to gain a point from their tussle with Merseyside Police, Chris Killen netting for the visitors.
In the Pyke Cup first round, Vauxhall Motors Reserves savoured a 3-0 triumph over local rivals Ellesmere Port, thanks to goals from Tom Lyness (2) and James Thomas. West Cheshire League followers are reminded that apart from the Cammell Laird Reserves' Pyke Cup first round clash with Castrol Social on Wednesday (7.30pm kick off) fixtures will not resume until Saturday, January 8.