THIS was the proverbial game of two halves, writes Glyn Jones.

St Helens Town turned in a magnificent performance to go in level at 1-1 at half time, only for the wheels to come off in the second half.

The home side delivered an object lesson in clinical finishing after the break to hand St Helens their heaviest league defeat of the season.

That the match went ahead at all was a tribute to the Shropshire side’s hard-working ground staff, who had put in many hours of hard work to beat the wet weather.

The pitch was very heavy in one corner and, had it rained during the game, an abandonment would have been on the cards.

The showers kept away, the match went ahead and the home side took an early lead after a mix-up in the St Helens defence saw Jake Young fire an ill-judged ball past stranded keeper Kieran Yong to put Alport 1-0 up in the sixth minute.

Town got themselves right back into the game though.

Andy Webster, captain Danny Lomax and Dom Whelan all figured prominently in the visitors’ solid defensive line, while Shaun Brady and Liam Diggle in particular caused the Whitchurch back four plenty of problems up front.

Brady’s pace caught out Danny Read in the Alport goal in the 20th minute and the keeper’s late tackle earned him a yellow card and gave Town a penalty kick, which skipper Lomax despatched straight down the middle to level the scores.

The game was an even contest for the remainder of the half, though Yong pulled off a great double save in the closing moments, denying Sean Griffiths, then recovering to tip the rebound wide of the post.

At 1-1 there was no indication of the second-half onslaught in store for St Helens.

Whitchurch retook the lead 10 minutes after the restart, with a superb curling effort which beat Yong all ends up from out near the touchline.

Then, in the 64th minute, the referee failed to see a blatant shove in the back of a Town defender which created the space for veteran defender Elliot Ledwards to bury the ball in the back of Yong’s net and, with that, the game was effectively over at 3-1.

Alport added to their lead with a near-post header from Griffiths in the 73rd minute, then Dean Twigg scored the fifth and final goal six minutes from time to give the home side a rather flattering four-goal winning margin.

Town had not played that badly, it was more a question of excellent finishing from a side well in the hunt for a promotion place.

Next up for St Helens is a home game against the uncompromising Alsager Town on Saturday at Ruskin Drive.

The Cheshire side are currently in fifth place.

Then come away trips to Sandbach (Saturday 13th), Prestwich Heys (Tuesday 16th) and AFC Blackpool (Saturday 20th), all three sides well placed for play-off and promotion challenges, before bottom club Nelson visit Ruskin Drive on the last Saturday of the month.