Sandbach United 1-3 Cheadle Town

Can we play away from home every week?

Maintaining our 100% start on the road and a win where we conceded first - statistically rare for us - made it a useful weekend for our First XI.

Our latest 'W' in the form column came down to two things: yet another rousing second half performance and a Mr Daniel Whiting between the sticks, who did everything he could to ensure that we didn't have the same mountain to climb as we did against Prestwich in midweek.

My Twitter notes recorded at least five occasions where he stopped what the Opta statistics bods would class as "clear goal-scoring opportunities", or something.

The pick - or should I say picks - of his custodial heroics came on 22 minutes when he blocked a far post effort at close quarters, did the same again on 35 minutes when a Sandbach player was clear through, just before half time when he palmed away an awkward effort at his near post and then on 56 minutes when he had to race out to deny another one-on-one situation.

With Mr Whiting making more than a decent fist of doing what is expected of him, the onus fell on those at the other end of the pitch to do the same.

It took them a while to get going. It wasn't until the 22nd minute that we had our first decent effort on goal; Rick Whyatt nipping in at the near post to connect with a Danny Jones cross only to see the keeper nip it off his toes.

As the first half started to draw to a close we began to find ourselves in half-decent positions, especially Jake Ambrose, but our reluctance to shoot and/or the final ball was letting us down.

A poor start to that half meant that we were going into the break a goal down.

Sandbach's ruse of direct balls to their good-in-the-air front two allied with their pacey no10 paid dividends as early as the 3rd minute.

They had already struck our crossbar before they broke quickly from our free-kick, worked the ball down the left channel before pulling it back for an easy tap-in for Pearson.

We definitely had a goal in us in this match. Fortunately after coming out for the second half we managed to bag three!

Our first breakthrough came just before the hour mark when Danny Jones slotted Rick Whyatt in for a calm finish into the far corner.

At this point it was pretty much anybody's game: end-to-end stuff but, oddly enough, nothing clear-cut for either team.

And then came one of those "sliding doors" moments around the 72 minute mark.

Coming out to collect a lofted ball Danny Whiting's heart must have been in his mouth as he was met by the sight of Joe Shaw coming towards him and heading the ball past him. Both could now do absolutely nothing about the ball's final resting place. Thankfully for us, it was wide of the post.

A minute later Sandbach clipped our crossbar from where we went up the other end and got ourselves a corner...

...which was struck in, daisy-cutter style, from the left to Joe Shaw at the near post whose attempt to flick it in managed to distract everybody enough to allow Rick Whyatt the easiest of goals from a yard out.

Rick Whyatt (centre) lies in wait....

Rick Whyatt (centre) lies in wait....

Hugs all round!

Hugs all round!

Sandbach, perhaps having run out of gas, luck or just tacit admission that whatever they did was going to be foiled by Whiting, didn't feature for the remainder of the match.

Joe Shaw powered a Wood free-kick just over the bar before we extended our lead with eight minutes of the match remaining.

Not for the first time Jake Ambrose found himself in a good position on the right where his effort was blocked. The loose ball found the feet of Danny Wood in the area who, with Sandbach bodies in his way, was patient enough to pick his spot and plant home.

Back to Park Road we go this Wednesday where we seek that (thus far) elusive home win against NWCFL newcomers Abbey Hulton United.

TEAM: Whiting, Dunn, Fleming, Russell, Shaw, Brocklehurst (Delaney), Ambrose, Wood, Jones, Whyatt, C Sherrington (Clarey). SUBS: Clarey, Hincks, Delaney, Allcock (gk)