By Harry Buckley at Ericstan Park
In a game with five red cards, four punches thrown and three goals, tensions ran high between second and first in the North West Counties Premier Division.
Heavy snow fall in South Manchester threatened to postpone the game between Wythenshawe Town and Vauxhall Motors, but it was the Cheshire side who braved the cold to run out 3-0 winners.
The win saw Vauxhall go two points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand over second-placed Wythenshawe.
Michael Burkey put the visitors ahead at Ericstan Park on 25 minutes. He latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the area and his body feint gave him a one-on-one which he calmly slotted away.
Lewis Buckley made it two just before half-time after good work from Michael Burkey in midfield set-up another one-on-one. Buckley made no mistake with the finish and “The Motormen” went in 2-0 up at the break.
The second half took a turn and tensions first boiled over on the hour when a brawl led to the dismissal of Wythenshawe’s Dom Smalley.
Two minutes later, it was 10 against 10, when Motors’ Tom Mitchell was sent off for violent conduct following a tussle right under the linesman’s nose.
Ben Dufton-Kelly killed the game off, making it three to the Cheshire side as he rose highest in the area to head home.
The game looked to be fizzling out with Vauxhall comfortably ahead and cruising. But with five minutes to go, the away side saw full-back Ethan Goldbourne sent-off for what appeared a rather tame challenge.
After this the game descended into chaos, with the home side reduced to nine men. James Dwyer was sent off for attacking a player on the floor and then throwing punches in a brawl to confirm his dismissal.
The final red card was issued to Haydn Cooper for an apparent uppercut following an altercation that left just 17 players on a rather empty looking pitch.
The result will be a huge positive for “Motors” and keeping a clean sheet against one of the league’s best attacking sides will please manager Mick McGraa.
But the Vauxhall boss will have a selection headache to deal with when they travel to the Isle of Man, as the suspensions roll-in next week for three of his starters.