Evo-Stik Division One North
New Mills 0...........................................
Two late goals saw Trafford edge out New Mills in a tight and tense tussle at Shawe View on Saturday.
With the hosts unbeaten on their own patch and The Millers undefeated on their travels, a lot was riding on the game.
The first significant attacking effort came in the 12th minute when Luke Horrocks’ careless underhit backpass put his defensive team-mates under unnecessary pressure. There was a huge shout for handball as Michael Oates’ initial shot was blocked by a supposed arm, referee Mr Gooch waved play on which allowed Shelton Payne’s follow-up to be headed off the line by Michael Bowler.
The same two players were involved ten minutes later when another Oates shot rebounded back into play off the post and again the rebound wasn’t capitalised upon as Payne’s effort could only find the side netting.
It took until shortly before the half-hour for The Millers to make some impact in the attacking third and goalkeeper Tom Read made a decent block to tip away Deji Omoboye’s stinging left-foot shot.
Arguably the best chance of the opening half fell to the visitors 12 minutes before the interval when Carlos Meakin broke down the right. The skipper proceeded to send an excellent cross to the back post where Michael Fish was unmarked and with the goal at his mercy, Tom Read flicked the ball with the merest of touches to divert it narrowly away from the striker.
Payne had another opportunity in the run-up to the half-time whistle but again he failed to hit the target.
New Mills started the second half in more positive fashion and only a fine defensive block prevented Fish from seriously testing Read. Then Meakin’s skidding effort drifted just wide of the goal.
Trafford grabbed the opening goal with 14 minutes remaining. After Steve Mason’s header was ruled out for offside, a quick break down the left flank saw New Mills exposed and eventually a cross was whipped across the six-yard box by Andy Smart to where Oates nipped in front of his marker to decisively prod the ball home.
There was no lack of effort or energy from The Millers as they chased the game for an elusive equaliser but creativity was lacking in the final third.
As the game reached the final minute, Meakin’s well-struck effort from the edge of the area was straight at Read who still had to make a decent reflex save such was the power of the strike. Within 30 seconds though, Paul Ashton sealed the contest when he planted a firm shot by Stevenson.
Even then, New Mills had what looked like a stonewall penalty denied when Read clearly upended Chris Luby, who was yellow carded after the referee decreed that the striker had dived.
New Mills: Stephenson, Bowler, Omoboye (Fitzpatrick), Grimshaw, Chadwick, Weston, Meakin, Luby, Fish (Graham), Hampson (Grandison), Horrocks. Unused subs: Innes, Willison.