Cheadle Town 1-2 Hanley Town

A result that does wonders for Hanley Town's promotion hopes but stymies our march towards securing a slot in the play-off lottery. With just eight games to go there is some comfort in the fact that we still have to face some of the teams around us: Holker Old Boys, Barnton and Irlam (twice).

Despite the relative paucity of clear-cut chances this was quite an entertaining game with plenty of cut and thrust.

A brisk opening five minutes from us was tempered by new 'keeper Saul Lomay-Newton called into early action when he perfectly judged a trip out of his own area to thwart a Hanley attacker bearing down on goal.

He was on thwarting duties again - Hanley's talisman Theo Stair the victim this time - before Ashley Smallwood troubled the Hanley keeper after weaving inside from the left and unleashing a shot.

On the 20th minute we took the lead.

A quick throw-out from Saul started a counter-attack and, thanks to some persistence and buccaneering wingplay from Josh Stevenson, the ball was squared for Thabiso Magida to slam home from close range.

Unfortunately the lead only lasted two minutes.

Straight down the other end Saul had denied Stair again as he took too long over what looked a formality but from the resulting corner he got the better of Saul this time, heading home from close range.

In terms of clear-cut chances the second half didn't see anything significant until the 70th minute. Unfortunately the significance was that it ended up being Hanley's winning goal.

From a corner they were granted a free header at the far post. Saul's remarkable efforts to stop the ball being forced home in the ensuing chaos ended when ex-Cheadle player Matt German bundled home; not the first time he has returned to Park Road and scored for the opposition.

A glorious chance to respond went begging two minutes later when Thabiso Magida skidded a ball across the goalmouth with nobody on-hand to convert what would have been an easy chance.

Laim Tongue went mighty close with a free-kick on the 87th minute but that was pretty much that and Hanley saw out the remaining time comfortably to take another step towards Premier Division football next season.

Next up for us is a midweek trip to Eccleshall (next Wednesday). Three points are a must if we want to stay in the mix.

TEAM: Lomay-Newton, McLaughlin, Pearson, Trucca, Moores, Dunn, Stevenson, Tongue, Smallwood (Horan), Whyatt (Sherrington), Magida. SUBS: Horan, Nsimbe, Halliwell, Lovett, M Sherrington.