Athletic move on as controversy reigns elsewhere!
The visitors started well and had the best of the first half, hitting the post just before the interval.
But Athletic found their feet after the restart, with Ethan Beckford opening the scoring on the hour mark from close range.
Irlam couldn’t muster a reply despite some decent pressure on the home goal.
And Beckford put them out of their misery with his second goal in the third minute of added time.
It wasn’t as good a weekend for neighbours Town, who were held 3-3 in controversial fashion by Campion.
Town took an early lead through Tom McNamara, who followed up to score after his first effort was saved.
McNamara doubled the advantage, and the only gripe at half-time was that the lead was only 2-0.
Town were made to pay when Campion quickly drew level, with both goals coming from free-kicks.
Bradley Williams restored the Town lead on his debut, only for Campion to level late on – with more than a suggestion of handball to it.
The result left a sour taste in the mouth for Town chairman Mark Hayes, who took to social media to reveal the bizarre reason why the game had kicked off half an hour late.
“A game of two halves as they say,” he tweeted. “All sorts of tactics used against us this season, however having players sit at Stubby Club to make the kick off delayed is a new one.
“I normally welcome new sides to our division but not these men. We go again.”
There was also controversy attached to Billinge’s 4-1 home defeat to Garswood United.
In a game that didn’t see one bad tackle, the Storks ended with eight players after two sending-offs and a player being sin-binned for the last 10 minutes.
Both dismissals were for being the ‘last man’ and both appeared harsh, with the first coming just before half-time with the game neatly poised at 1-1.
The visitors had taken the lead through David Moore only for Billinge’s Aaron Bowen to immediately equalise.
The Storks battled well in the second-half and held on until the 73rd minute, only to be undone by a ‘worldie’ from Danny Clarke.
Moments later Daniel Atkins made it 3-1, Billinge had a second man sent off and, in the fallout from this, Storks player-manager Wayne Wardle was sin-binned for arguing with the referee’s assessor – who had got involved in the arguments surrounding the red card.
To compound the Storks’ misery, Clarke grabbed his second in added-time to give the Wooders a fine away victory.
“We lost the game because we made a couple of bad mistakes and poor decisions on the pitch,” said Wardle.
“Obviously the dismissals didn’t help us, and up until the first one I thought it was an excellent game.
"It was played in the right spirit throughout and for us to finish with eight men is baffling, as I’ve always been told the first rule of refereeing was ‘common sense’.”
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