ASHTON Town took advantage of numerous postponements to gain another high-scoring victory that took them to the top of the North West Counties First Division.
Ashton, although in good form of late, began the game rather sluggishly, and were fortunate not to fall behind when Simon Farrell went close.
Ashton ‘keeper Nathan Brabin got his body behind the shot, but the ball still crept towards the line, until Ryan Stamper’s last-ditch clearance.
Then on 22 minutes came the controversial moment that defined the outcome of the game.
Michael Boyle was felled inside the area, in what appeared to be a good tackle.
It was a generous penalty decision, and Bradley Smart accepted it by stepping up and sending the keeper the wrong way.
The goal instantly gave Town the momentum, with the second goal coming on 42 minutes.
Phil Davies’s cross was converted by a wonderful Kevin Pollard header.
Davies then made it three just 41 seconds after the restart after some clever footwork.
It then took two more goals in the minutes either side of the hour mark to wrap up the scoring.
Ste Mahoney was first, heading home Smart’s corner, from close range.
It was also another corner three minutes later that Pollard’s head again connected with for his second goal of the game.
It was a proud day for John Brownrigg and his team, as last season’s bottom side had impressively manoeuvred themselves into the league leaders’ position.
WIGAN Robin Park’s FA Vase third round tie at Walsall Wood was again postponed at the weekend.
The two teams will try again this coming Saturday.
Back in the NWCFL Premier Division, Ashton Athletic were beaten 4-1 at Padiham.
Mark Bailey netted Athletic’s consolation goal.
South Lancs Counties Lge
UP Holland Rangers moved up to third spot in Division One after beating second-placed St Cuthbert’s 5-1.
Steve Baxter put the Rangers 3-0 up at the interval with a sparkling hat-trick before Aaron Daly and John Bullock completed the scoring for the victors. Adam Power hit a consolation goal for the Saints.
Chad White struck a hat-trick as Leigh Genesis beat Ashton Villa 8-1.
Nathan Ogden (2), Josh Simms, Alex Luby and Dec Pearce were also on target for a rampant Leigh Genesis. Matt Verinda replied for Villa.
In Division Two, Standish Park Rangers were too good for Ince United and won 5-0.
Ant Coppenhall and Liam Cooper each scored a brace, with Joe Whitfield also on target.
Goose Green Reserves are still in second spot despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Chequer Lane. Mike Aspey put Goose Green ahead at the interval, with James Thomson replying in the second half.
Parklands ran out 4-2 winners against bottom club Orwell.
Danny Davies and Joe Liptrot each scored a brace for Parklands with Adam Panda and Danny Sutch replying for Orwell.
In the only Division Three game played, AFC Rainford moved up to third spot with a 4-1 win against Leigh Rovers.
They came from behind to win with strikes from Jonathan Williams, Jamie Taylor, Boris Cockayne and Daniel Bancroft.
In the Lancs Under-18s Youth Cup quarter final, Southport Youth moved into the last four with an excellent 7-2 win at Burnley United.
Jamie Campbell was the hero, hitting four goals.
The other marksmen were Martin Mathers, Jackson Ellis and Luke Smith.
In the Youth Under-17s, Billinge Juniors ran out 5-3 winners against Bickerstaffe with Darius Dean and Jordan Fowl each scoring a brace.
Lyndsey Millgan was also on target for Billinge.
Dominic Seddermitt struck a hat-trick for Bickerstaffe.
Standish Panthers came from behind to beat Horwich St Mary’s 2-1.
Liam Gash put the Saints ahead but goals by Dean Bold and Connor Nicholson gave Standish Panthers the points.
All the other games scheduled were postponed.
The league closes down for the Christmas holidays and re-opens on Sunday, January 6.
Wigan Amateur League
THE two teams filling the relegation places in North West Gas and Solar Heating Division Two – Cart and Horses and Wigan Rovers Res – met and in a tough contest Rovers took the spoils 3-2.
Rovers went ahead when Stuart Myers took advantage of some poor defending to fire home. Cart were soon back in the contest when skipper Tom Carlton levelled after good work from Mike Barnes.
As half time approached Rovers went back in front as Andy Dickson’s powerful header gave keeper James Higham no chance.
Play was end to end with both sides missing chances but with 20 minutes remaining Cart brought on substitute Steve Turner and within minutes of his arrival he fired an unstoppable 20 yard shot to make the score 2-2.
Both sides now went flat out for the winner and it came on 75 minutes when Mat Murray’s shot was turned in by Connah Dainty.
Leaders Bickerstaffe Res came undone for the second week running when held to a 1-1 draw by Pemberton Res. Lee Brooks netted for the top dogs while James Woodcock levelled.
Foundry Res continued their good run seeing off AH Leisure 5-2 as Liam Sykes and Kieron Saunders – with two each – and Paul Burke got their goals, with Paul Gaskell and Ant Orrell replying.
In Garswood Trophies Premier Division the story of the day is five-goal James Fagan of Pemberton.
Atherton Royal had taken a one- goal half-time lead courtesy of Danny Swanton, but then Fagan struck, netting five second-half goals without reply from a mesmerised Royal.
The top two met and second-placed Winstanley St Aidan’s got full revenge for last week’s defeat by slamming Bickerstaffe 4-1 with the goals coming from Martin Thomas, Alex Turner, Phil Howard and ex-Bickerstaffe man Stuart Berkley.
Just one game survived the weather in Crystalleisurewear.co.uk Division One but Belair’s point from a 2-2 draw with Leigh Phoenix was enough to send them back to the top of the table. Shaun Peach got both their goals, with Daryl Cope doing the same for Phoenix.
There were goals galore in Northgate Vehicle Hire Division Three. Top scorers were Gidlow Res who thrashed Billinge Community 11-2 as Danny Ralphs (4), Jordan Patton, Gavin Heyes, Dean Ainscough, Danny Kay , Danny Ratcliffe, Callum Smith and an own goal all registered.
AFC Waterside demolished Landgate Springs 10-1 with goals from Shaun Todd (4), Mat Dyer (3), Barry Kenyon, Jon Dobs and John Daniels, with Paul Davies netting for the losers.
Ince Central Res beat Hurlston Hall 4-2 to keep up their promotion challenge. Jamie Bennett got a hat-trick and Ian Gaskell the other, while Rob Knowles and Tom Murphy scored for Hall.
Farnworth Town got their second win on the trot 3-0 at Winstanley Warriors.