ON Saturday Billinge picked up maximum points as they won 2-0 at Malpas in the Cheshire League Premier Division.

The Storks had beaten the Cheshire club 9-2 last weekend but it was never going to be as easy against a much-changed Malpas side on their own ground.

On a day with a touch of winter in the air it felt for long periods that it was going to be one of those days as The Storks hit the woodwork five times!

The first of these occasions came on five minutes when Liam Platt rattled the post from a corner that was conceded after great work by Liam Bowden and Phil Dearden.

On 11 minutes Billinge hit the woodwork again as Bowden showed great strength to ride two tackles and get a shot away but with Malpas keeper Richard Desmond well-beaten he could only look on agonisingly as the ball rebounded off the post and away to safety.

The game was now end-to-end as Jon Redmond glanced a header just wide before Tyler Smith unleashed a powerful shot that went just wide for Malpas.

Malpas' captain Dan Taylor had a good shot deflected for a corner before Bowden almost got on the end of a lovely chipped pass from Dean Curtis.

In the 22nd minute Billinge had a great chance to go ahead when Redmond found himself through on goal with just Desmond to beat; unfortunately the combative striker put the ball the wrong side of the post.

Malpas were now using the slope to their advantage and were finding gaps down Billinge's left-hand side and on 28 minutes Lee Turkington brought a great save out of The Storks' custodian Josh Sandberg.

It was another 11 minutes for the next telling action - and final action of the half - when a great ball from Bowden found Redmond through on the keeper but again the striker put the ball wide of the post.

With the slope in their favour and with a good exchange of opinion at half-time from management and players The Storks were quick out of the blocks.

In the first minute of the half Bowden stung Desmond's fingertips from 25 yards and two minutes later Jamie Anderson's effort from 30 yards sailed just over the bar.

Now it was Billinge finding room down the left-hand side but they had to be aware of the counter attack and on 55 minutes Sandberg pulled off a great save to deny Ollie Hails.

On the hour mark Malpas' left back Adam Hails rose well but his header hit the top of the bar.

However two minutes later Billinge were ahead as Bowden's header was well-saved by Desmond only for Curtis to follow in and bundle the ball over the goal line.

It wasn't long before Billinge doubled their lead when on 66 minutes Redmond played a lovely weighted ball through to Dearden who rounded the keeper and slotted home from a tight angle for his 12th goal of the season.

A minute later it was almost three as Dearden returned the favour for Redmond but his shot came back off the post.

The final twenty minutes saw Billinge manage the game well and close down any attacks from the home side while at the other end the luckless Redmond again hit the post with a great effort while Bowden again rattled the bar with a header.

With two minutes to go Ryan Sephton went close from 40 yards and then in injury time The Storks had a scare when Sandberg came for a ball and didn't get there but man-of-the-match Bowden got back to clear and secure a valuable three points for The Storks.

After the game Billinge manager Matt Potter was pleased with the result saying, "We knew it would be a different game to last week but we just weren't with it in the first-half.

"That said with a bit of luck we could have been well ahead but after the break we did what was needed, got the goals and saw the game out.

"All-in-all I have to be pleased as again we were missing players through injury and unavailability but it is a credit to the club that the players who came in were excellent.

The win keeps The Storks in second place but with leaders Altrincham Reserves losing at the weekend the gap is down to one point.

This coming Saturday Billinge will have an opportunity to assess Altrincham Reserves as they go there in the JB Parker Premier Division Challenge Cup: Kick-Off 3pm