TRAFFORD recorded a crucial but hard fought victory over New Mills in their Evo Stik League Division One North clash at Shawe View on Saturday.
The home side dominated the opening stages and in the 12th minute their claims for a penalty were turned down when Michael Oates shot appeared to be blocked by the hand of a defender. Shelton Payne struck the rebound goalwards but Daniel Grimshaw headed clear off the goal-line.
Oates then headed an Andy Smart free kick just over before Millers Michael Fish fired just wide from the edge of the area.
In the 21st minute Trafford missed a great opportunity to take the lead when Oates struck the foot of the post, Will Ahern pounced on the rebound and when the ball fell to Shelton Payne, the fleet footed winger carelessly drove it into the side-netting.
Two minutes later Payne shot straight at David Stephenson in the visitor’s goal whilst at the other end a thunderbolt from Deji Omoboye was spectacularly tipped over by Tom Read.
In the 39th minute Trafford squandered another great chance when Shelton Payne broke clear down the middle, rounded Stephenson but then ran the ball wide of the goal.
In the final minute of the first half Garry Vaughan’s side were denied what appeared to be an obvious penalty when Paul Ashton was upended just inside the penalty area but once again referee Gooch ignored their claims for a spot kick.
The game degenerated in the opening stages of the second period with both sides sloppy in possession. Fish saw his drive deflected wide and then skipper Carlos Meakin whistled a drive from 25 yards just past the post.
However, in the 67th minute a brilliant run down the right flank by full back Ally Brown seemed to snap Trafford out of their lethargy although Michael Oates scuffed his shot at the back post.
Four minutes later Steve Mason’s header at the back post was ruled out for offside before the deadlock was finally broken in the 74th minute when Andy Smart crossed from the left and Oates slid the ball home at the near post.
Tom Read then comfortably held an attempted chip by Carlos Meakin before producing a superb reflex save from the same player in the 89th minute, the ball immediately being sent downfield to Paul Ashton who cooly placed it side of Stephenson to make it 2-0.
The visitors misery was complete in the dying seconds when James Hampson appeared to be tripped by goalkeeper Read but the referee cautioned the Millers striker for an alleged dive.
This victory consolidates Trafford’s third place in the league table, two points behind leaders Skelmersdale United and just one behind Mossley, although they have three games in hand on the latter.
And on Tuesday night Trafford could go top of the table as they entertain Skelmersdale at Shawe View, kick off 7-45 pm.