Ashton Athletic and Billinge both involved in five-goal thrillers
Dale Korie-Butler gave the home side the lead inside seven minutes, but the visitors were level on the half-hour mark.
Josh Nicholson restored the Ashton lead within five minutes, and Ethan Beckford continued his sparkling form with number three on 64 minutes.
Padiham pulled one back with 13 minutes to, but Athletic held on for the deserved victory.
There were also five goals to enjoy at Barrows Farm as FC St Helens came from two goals down to claim the bragging rights and the three points against Billinge.
The first real chance came on 11 minutes when FC’s Andy Gillespie shot from close range, but Storks skipper Zak Riley cleared.
A minute later Billinge were ahead when Riley – finding himself higher up the pitch – slid a beautiful pass through to Aaron Bowen, who slotted the ball past the advancing goalkeeper Paddy McLoughlin.
The Storks had a great chance to double the lead on 16 minutes only for Rob Lamont to hit his shot high over the bar.
However, five minutes later Billinge did indeed double their lead, with Liam Thomas’s free-kick being headed back to Richie Allen, who prodded home from four yards.
FC responded well, with Mick Houghton hitting the bar with a header on the half-hour mark before the deficit was halved a minute later.
Andy Gillespie had a shot at goal that should have been cleared to safety, but the ball instead fell at the feet of Jack Ball who finished superbly.
Parity was restored six minutes before the break when Billinge again failed to clear their lines, with this time the ball falling to Jonathan Lowndes who fired home.
It was no surprise the second-half started at a slower tempo and became a gritty midfield battle.
In fact, there was very little goalmouth action until the 68th minute when FC took the lead for the first time, with Lowndes hitting a screamer into the net.
The home side responded well with Allen having the best chances shooting straight at McLoughlin when through on goal, and then having a glancing header saved.
Billinge’s man-of-the-match awarded by shirt sponsors PlayerProUk and Brothers Burgers went to Bowen, who superbly led the line, scored the first goal and provided an assist for the second.
Ashton Town had the weekend off.
Meanwhile, it was Laithwaite Shield day as the Wigan Amateur League’s version of the FA Cup got underway.
Pemberton from the Premier Division visited Second Division Ashton Villa and had to fight all the way before winning 3-1.
Callum Hughes gave the visitors an early lead before Jamie Dallimore doubled the advantage.
Steve Cunliffe fired home a great goal to reduce the arrears, but Owen Roberts secured the win for Pemberton.
Leigh Foundry of the Premier had a comfortable 4-0 win at Division One AFC Tyldesley as Joe Shepherd, Daniel Gunning, Zach Sutton and John Pilkington netted.
Sutton Junction Res beat neighbours Makerfield 3-0 with goals from Rob Fenney (2) and Aaron Shaw, while Digmoor can thank hat-trick hero Connor Johnstone for the 4-0 victory over Wigan Rovers were beaten 4-0.
Dog and Gun slammed Red Lions 7-1 with Deacon Shaw (4), Kieran Tookey, Sean Meehan and Will Scavfar scoring.
Hag Fold hit 14 (fourteen) against AFC Wigan Res with star marksman Craig Massey claiming five and Coby Saxon three.
Ince Central from Division One saw off Seven Brooks a division below them 9-1 with Ian Gaskell getting four of them.
Cherrybrook beat Abram Athletic 6-0 with two each from Rhys Nealen and Matty Kurfürst, while Chad Drake hit a hat-trick in Leigh Town’s 6-2 defeat of Ormskirk.
Gidlow Athletic beat Hindley Green 6-2 , while Wigan Junior Latics edged out Toby Celtic 3-2.
A Clay Brow win was never in doubt as they thrashed Parr Stocks 11-1, with Jamie King helping himself to seven goals.
Digmoor Res got a walk over as Golborne Sports couldn’t raise a team, and Sutton Junction also had a bye.
The league are on the lookout for more committee members, with the roles of treasurer and secretary available to newcomers.
Anyone interested should contact Dave Orrell on 07719569310.
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