Cheadle Town 3-0 Ashton Town

What a difference 48 hours makes.

After the calamity of the St Helens Town away defeat on Thursday evening came this much-needed win over an Ashton Town side down on their luck and down at the bottom of the First Division pile.

Not that they came here to get rolled over. Far from it. They were a spirited outfit and gave us a few nervous moments, particularly at the start of the second half, and probably left Park Road wondering how they didn't score.

Dane Smith's triptych of excellent blocks five minutes into the second half, thus preventing Ashton Town getting an equaliser, could rightly be viewed as this match's "fine lines" moment for after that the visitors didn't really threaten again.

Our play throughout the whole 90 minutes was methodical. This was three points born out of patience, particularly given the number of times we were caught offside.

New signing Davison Banda got into the action straight away, providing a cross from the right as early as the 2nd minute for Nathan Tosum to hold and subsequently clip for Thabiso Magida at the far post to hopefully head home; alas it was cleared off the line at the last minute.

Straight down the other end Dane Smith was forced into tipping the ball past the post after the visitors had conjured a neat one-two move on the edge of the box.

Luke Pearson fired a free-kick just over the crossbar on the quarter hour before Rhys Webb got his head to a Matt German cross and was unlucky to see his goalbound effort deflected wide.

On the 25th minute Webb made a run down the left and cut inside before firing just over the crossbar before we finally broke the deadlock on the 35th minute, and it was down to some quick-thinking on our part.

Ashton Town were caught napping by a quickly-taken thrown-in to the feet of Magida who drove in from the left, poking the ball past the oncoming keeper for Nathan Tosum to tap home from close range.

Our next foray on goal didn't come until the hour mark when Webb found himself in on goal but could only shoot weakly at the keeper.

In the last fifteen minutes of the match we turned the screw further and put the match out of Ashton's reach, thanks to two substitutions that brought Rick Whyatt and Mike Sherrington into the equation.

On 74 minutes Magida got himself onto the end of a cross from Mike but, perhaps distracted by the attentions of a defender, stumbled at the crucial moment before he could get his shot away with Rick then heading over when unmarked just a minute later.

With nine minutes to go we got our second. On the counterattack Rick Whyatt made a run through midfield, feeding Thabiso Magida on the left to advance on goal and finish emphatically.

The deal was sealed in the 89th minute thanks to Mike Sherrington who outpaced his marker on the left before tucking home to the sound of collective relief from the Park Road sidelines.

We are just one defeat in our last five league matches now. That's a very "glass half-full" mindset but it sure sounds better than the half-empty view of it being one win in the last five matches in all competitions. How you perceive it is up to you.

And three clean sheets in the last five league matches - when clean sheets were as rare as hen's teeth for us earlier on this season - might be just another indication of a small corner being turned since that mauling at Charnock Richard....

TEAM: Smith, Banda, Pearson, German, Tongue, Shaw, Todd (Whyatt), Russell, Tosum (M Sherrington), Webb, Magida. SUBS: Whyatt, M Sherrington, Grant, Dunn.