A depleted MSC Express West Cheshire League programme failed to deter current Division Two pacesetters, Bootle St. Edmunds, from further stamping their mark on this season's title race after they recorded their eleventh win from as many outings and maintained their objective of Division One football next season at the first time of asking.

Saturday's 4-1 eclipse of Maghull Reserves was confirmed by doubles from ace marksman, Mark Madden and Mike Davies and that win saw Saints maintain their eight point advantage at the top.

Andrew Dawber replied for the visitors.

Nearest rivals, West Kirby, leapfrogged Poulton Victoria into second place after efforts from Kyle Bennett and Lewis Clarke sealed a narrow 2-1 decision over Marine Reserves, who had Harrison Worden in reply.

Elsewhere, a solitary strike from Alex Bishop proved decisive as South Liverpool Reserves registered their fourth win of the season at the expense of fourth-placed Heswall.

Key Division Two fixtures this Saturday see Bootle St. Edmunds visit third-placed Poulton Victoria while Heswall will be hoping to get their promotion drive back on track at Cheshire Lines.

Only one game came under starters orders in Division One and it was a profitable run-out for Marshalls who were elevated to fourth place in the table after Joe Davies bagged the game's only goal to deny Wallasey visitors, Ashville.

Unbeaten leaders, South Liverpool are in action this weekend at Rainhill Town and at the Wirral Tennis Centre, Prescot Cables Reserves provide the opposition for second place Mersey Royal.

At Gayton Park, 90 minutes failed to produce a goal between Heswall Reserves and Poulton Victoria Reserves in Division Three.

In the table-topping clash in the Youth Division, leaders South Liverpool had Owen Griffiths (2), Lucas Rogers and Luka Vasco-Snow on target, but forfeited their unbeaten record after they went down 6-4 at nearest rivals, Mossley Hill Athletic, who found the net through Jack Boden (2), Alfie Saunders, Jaden Garcia, Sam Westhead and Leo Reynolds.

Mossley remain unbeaten and currently trail the leaders by four points with three games in hand.

It was a happy start to the New Year for bottom club, Netherley Wood Lane Legion, who savoured their first win of the season after they romped home 5-1 against Knowsley South courtesy of efforts from Harry Young (2), Joe Harvey, Jamie St.John and Lewis Harding. Knowsley' consolation was scored by Aaron Meadows.