Denton Town 2-5 Middlewich Town

MIDDLEWICH Town put behind them the disappointment of an early exit from the Cheshire FA Amateur Cup when they returned to action on Saturday.

They delivered a performance that was convincing, and reassuring at the same time, for co-manager Michael Welch.

He said: "We looked more like our old selves.

"Our standards have slipped in recent weeks but that display, particularly in the first-half when we were excellent, is a foundation we can build on."

The Witches rise to fourth in the Cheshire League's Premier Division table as a reward.

They took the lead in the sixth minute when Scott Twite headed in a the back-post from a corner.

Captain Jamie Petrie then converted Michael Whitehead's cross shortly afterwards to double their lead.

Denton halved their arrears when Francisco Costa latched onto a through-ball sent behind the visitors' defence before beating goalkeeper Charles Masters.

Petrie restored a two-goal lead quickly, firing with power into the corner after Whitehead again provided an assist.

And the attacker completed his hat-trick when he found the net directly from a flag-kick, making it 4-1 at the interval.

He was denied another when the Denton's custodian saved a penalty awarded for a foul on Twite although James Smith was first to a rebound shortly afterwards to add to Middlewich's lead.

Substitute Stefano Idugbor later claimed a consolation for his side.

Middlewich, victors in four of their five away games this season, head next to FC St Helens.

Town won the return 2-1 back in August.