CASTROL Social eased their relegation fears significantly on Saturday, pulling clear of the Division One quagmire with a 3-0 win over Ashville.
Simon Thelwell, Jordan Brierley and Stuey Carroll bagged the goals as the Oilmen registered their eighth win of the season and closed the gap on 11th-placed local rivals Vauxhall Motors Reserves to just two points.
The derby between Motors and Ellesmere Port finished with honours even at 1-1. Graham Hughes obliged for the Port, and Tommy Carroll replied for the visitors.
The chances of either Capenhurst Villa or Grange Athletic securing promotion to the top flight improved following excellent victories for both clubs.
Cape’s 2-0 eclipse of Bebington Athletic was confirmed by a smart double from Alan Locke, while Ian Forster and Chris Yew found the net for Grange in their 2-0 decision over Heswall Reserves.
On current standings, third-placed Cape are a point in arrears of Maghull Reserves, but have two games in hand, while Grange trail Cape by 12 points with six games in hand.
Willaston went in front at Mallaby via a neat finish from Dave Forbes and, although James Gillison equalised on 70 minutes, the visitors clinched all three points after Jimmy Hilditch nodded the winner on 77 minutes.
In Division Three, Ellesmere Port Reserves picked up a good point at Runcorn Town Reserves after an astute finish from Lee Watts cancelled out an effort from Town’s Anton Ellison.
Two of the local Division One sides are in action this Saturday against clubs who harbour genuine claims to the title. Vauxhall Motors Reserves are away to leaders West Kirby, while Ellesmere Port will be looking to dent the hopes of second-placed Runcorn Town.
Neighbours Castrol Social, meanwhile, should continue to fine tune their act in readiness for Good Friday’s Pyke Cup final with a home game against Upton AA.
Capenhurst Villa look good for maximum spoils from their trip to Fairfield Athletic in Division Two, while Grange Athletic are favourites to account for Helsby. Willaston’s home advantage should give them the edge over Heswall Reserves.
Cape’s second string entertain Hale in Division Three and on their day, Ellesmere Port Reserves are capable of bagging at least a point at struggling Shaftesbury.
Castrol Veterans drew 3-3 at Aintree Valentine on Sunday with goals from John Reynolds (2) and Dave Cockram. The Oilmen’s next fixture is on Sunday, March 16 when they host Whetley Vets, of Bradford, at 2pm.