WIGAN Robin Park came back from Chadderton with a hard-fought 2-1 victory that put them back to the top of the North West Counties First Division table.
On a sloping and bumpy pitch the Robins had to battle for the victory that takes them three points clear of nearest rivals Abbey Hey with two games in hand over the Manchester-based club.
However, it was the home side that was first out of the blocks as Dougie Pitts had to be at his best when he got a foot to the ball to deny Matt Chadwick.
With the Robins’ midfield struggling to get their passing game going the game began to resemble a pinball machine with the ball bouncing around the pitch as Phil Howard struggled on his own up front.
As the half progressed Park began to get more possession and on 30 minutes Shaun Judge latched onto a half-clearance by Ben Greenidge and hit a sweet volley from 20 yards into the top corner to put the Robins ahead.
Sensing a deflated Chadderton side, Wigan pressed forward, but on 32 minutes Ben Kay gave the ball away on the half-way line.
It was picked up by midfielder Ben Fletcher who – spotting Jay Foulds off his line – hit a superb shot from 45 yards over Foulds and into the net to level the scores.
While it was a goal good enough to win any game, Chadderton were unable to build on this supreme piece of skill and it was the Robins that finished the half the stronger.
After the break and playing down the slope, it was all Wigan as they took a firm hold of the game.
With the midfield getting it wide at every opportunity Dean Callaway, Ben Kay and Howard (twice) all went close, before Howard finished neatly from 15 yards to put the Robins ahead on 70 minutes.
The final 20 minutes saw the Robins continue to press and only good work from Chadderton keeper Dale Latham kept the home side in it.
This Saturday Wigan travel to AFC Darwen for a second round tie in the North West Counties First Division Trophy.
ASHTON Athletic secured an impressive 2-1 NWCFL Premier Division victory at home against Congleton Town.
On target were Lee Barrett and Alex Dunne.
Back in the First Division, Ashton Town lost 2-1 at home against Eccleshall. Lewis Coyle netted for Town.
Wigan Amateur League
BELAIR did their Division Two title aspirations no harm as they beat Orrell Reserves 2-0 to stay in control at the top of the table, while Leigh Rangers Reserves returned to winning ways, 3-2 at Springfield, whose long losing run must be a worry.
Atherton Hag Fold slammed bottom side Wigan Rovers Reserves 5-1 with Stuart McPike and Lee Birchall grabbing a brace apiece.
Up Holland beat Boars Head 2-1 with Ben Barnes wrapping up victory with a cracking goal.
Garswood Trophies Premier Division leaders Winstanley St Aidan’s beat Gidlow Athletic 3-1 to stay in charge at the top. Alex Neill, Martin Thomas and Ross Boland netted.
Second placed Leigh Rangers also won 3-1 against Standish St Wilf’s.
Newburgh Harrock United beat Digmoor 4-0 in their local derby with Eddie Williams getting a hat-trick and Kallum Tyrer the other.
AFC Scholes got a vital 4-0 win at fellow strugglers Shevington with Scott Peach 2, Jay Clarke and Darryl Jolley netting.
Pemberton blitzed Downall Green United 5-1 in their best performance of the season. The visitors were 3-0 up in the first 15 minutes thanks to Steve Buckley, Andy Reid and Ryan Molyneux. They then added a fourth in the second half through Gary Hughes and substitute James Woodcock wrapped it up near the end.
Bickerstaffe got a vital 4-2 victory over Ince FC with Luke Hughes knocking in two.
Ince Central and Hindley Town fought out a goalless draw.
Division One leaders Orrell saw off Goose Green United 5-2 thanks to a hat-trick from goal ace Brian Shuker, but second-placed Atherton Royal are right behind them after a narrow 1-0 win at much improved AFC Tyldesley.
Standish St Wilf’s Reserves beat St Jude’s 3-0 as Dan Duffield 2 and Phil Sumner got the goals.
Autus Web Design Division Three trailblazers AH Leisure stay top of the pile after beating Winstanley Warriors 4-0 with goals from Phil Butler 2, Ant Orrell and Paul Gaskell.
Rivals Cart and Horses had to settle for a 1-0 success at bottom club Sporting Leigh with Ant Meakin getting the only goal.
Wigan Celtic thrashed Ince Central Reserves 5-1 with goals from Paul Armstrong 2, Billy Nixon, Tom Mortimore and Chris Bagguley.
Matthew Hoy scored for Central as his grandfather Lawrence, aged 63, had a great game for the losers.
Black Bull also hit five as they beat Billinge Community 5-1 with that man Martin Foster claiming two, while Gidlow Athletic Reserves edged out high flying Lowton Rams 2-1 to hit the Warrington outfit’s title hopes.
Atherton George ran riot at Ashton Villa, running out 7-2 winners thanks to a double each from Tom Jackson and Ryan Davies.
South Lancs Counties
IT rained goals at Parklands as they beat Bird I’th Hand 7-5 in their Division Two encounter.
Ten of the 12 goals came in a barnstorming first half. Parklands led 2-0 before falling behind at 4-2 and again at 5-3. Parklands then hit four unanswered goals to win 7-5. Tony Lewis 3, Paul Redhead 2, Chris Partington and Adam Riley scored for Parklands, with Ant Dunleavey 3 and Alex McGrath striking a brace for the Bird.
Second-placed Bryn Hall beat the leaders St Cuthbert’s 3-2. Darren Mears 2 and James Ballymore scored for Bryn Hall with Mike Holt and Barry Gregson replying for the Saints.
AFC Wigan Reserves turned a half-time deficit into a 2-1 against Bryn Park. Chris McVey put Bryn Park ahead, but second half goals by Mike Birchall and Richard Emerson saw AFC Wigan home.
Up Holland beat bottom club Win Stanley Warriors 5-1 with Shaun Atkinson and Mike Joyce each scoring two.
John Stacker cracked in two terrific goals as Digmoor beat FC Wigan United 2-1. Steve Barlow struck from the edge of the penalty box for FC Wigan.
Premier Division leaders North Star went down by the odd goal in five at Horwich St Mary’s. The Saints were pegged back twice before Reece Hopkins hit his hat-trick goal to win it for home side.
Aspull JFC twice came from behind to win 4-2 against AFC Wigan. Carl Murphy and Paul Taylor scored for Wigan with Danny Edmundson 2, Neil Berry and John Coyne on target for Aspull.
A Lee Hill hat-trick saw Goose Green win 5-1 against bottom club Hawkley. Jamie and Richie Livingston were also on target for Goose Green.
Dynamo Globe ran out 5-1 winners at Wigan Cosmos.
Division One leaders Halsall strolled to a 9-1 win at Academy Sports thanks to goals by Danny Viquerat 4, Alex Grysdale 2, Matt Ashcroft, Mark Connolly and Dave Mawdsley.
Penlake are still unbeaten in the league and are in third spot behind Orrell Otters after a 5-2 win against Orrell Sorrento. Nick Grindley and Darryl Hale each hit a brace.
Marus Bridge ran out 2-1 winners against Up Holland Rangers. Phil Sharkey put the Bridge ahead with John Bullock equalising. Martin Thomas struck the winner for Marus Bridge.
In the Lancs Sunday Trophy, Golborne Parkside moved into the fifth round after beating Tarleton of Preston 1-0. Danny Horridge struck the first half winner.
Highfield Grange went out to holders Poulton 4-2. Martin Meehan and Ian Roby scored for Highfield.
In the Wilf Hickson Cup, Billinge Juniors U18s twice came from behind to beat their U17s side 3-2. James Gasteen, Danny Jones and Alex Maxwell were on target for the U18s, with Archie McRuskey hitting a brace in reply.
Ashton Athletic won a thrilling game against Shevington 5-4 after extra time. Unfortunately extra time should not have taken place – it should have been a penalty shoot-out – so the game will be replayed.
In Division Three, Halsall Reserves twice came from behind to draw 3-3 against Victoria. Matty Ward, Glen Stoeman and Oliver Griffiths had put Halsall 3-2 ahead. Scot Matthews 2 and Mark Pennington replied for Victoria.
Chequer Lane were 6-3 winners against Darly AFC thanks to Matt Berkeley 2, Tom Socket, John Parker, Jordan Murray and an own goal. Martin Roarke, Adam Ruse and Danny Malone kept Darley in the game until late on.
Orwell were 4-2 victors against Hindley Lion with Jordan Patten, Scot Jones, Neil Rigby and Ian Wadsworth all on target.
Standish Park Rangers visited Leigh Rovers and came away with a 3-0 victory thanks to strikes by Jack Nolan, Liam Cooper and Ant Copenhall.