Trafford’s promotion hopes were dented by a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Radcliffe Borough at Stainton Park on Saturday.

The visitors dominated possession throughout the first half but rarely troubled goalkeeper Terry Smith and it was Boro who created the more clearcut chances.

Will Ahern, returning to the Trafford side after a lengthy lay-off due to injury, fired over from 15 yards in the 18th minute and shortly afterwards Boro midfielder Sam Freakes broke clear but was thwarted by a brave save by Tom Read.

Kevin Sanasay then rounded Read but screwed his shot wide before Ahern squandered another good chance with a wayward shot on the half hour mark.

Trafford were in the ascendancy for the remainder of the first half but Shelton Payne, Paul Ashton and Martyn Andrews all blasted shots over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.

The only time that Smith was called into action was a minute before the interval when he spilled a low drive by Michael Oates but Shaun Connor cleared the danger as Paul Ashton attempted to net the rebound.

Two minutes into the second half Boro surged ahead when Ben Wharton controversially side-footed home at the back post with Trafford vainly appealing for offside.

In the 49th minute keeper Read completely miskicked and Kevin Sanasy had the simplest of tasks in tapping into the empty goal from 10 yards.

Sanasy should have made it three six minutes later when he broke clear once more but an unfortunate bounce on the tricky surface lead to him shooting tamely wide.

Boro’s veteran midfielder Darren Sheridan and skipper Mark Jones were now controlling the midfield as Trafford struggled to play with their normal fluency and the nearest the visitors came to reducing the arrears was when Steve Mason just failed to connect with an Andy Smart free kick.

The final whistle signalled only the second defeat of the season for Trafford and victory for Skelmersdale United meant that they slipped down to third place in the Evo Stik League Division One North table. However, with 20 games remaining there is still everything to play for.

On Saturday, Trafford entertain a New Mills team that are still unbeaten on their travels, kick off 3 p.=m., and then on Tuesday night title favourites Skelmersdale United are the visitors to Shawe View for another mouth-watering clash that kicks off at 7-45 pm.