Robins ease to victory

Action from Robin Park's 4-0 victory
Action from Robin Park's 4-0 victory

WIGAN Robin Park bounced back from their midweek disappointment in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy when they eased past Staffordshire outfit Leek CSOB 4-0 on Saturday.

A Phil Howard hat-trick, along with a goal from Steve Edwards, was enough to see the Robins home.

With a couple of players missing through injury and unavailability, manager John Neafcy went with a 4-3-3 system that after a half an

hour of bedding-in, worked a treat.

On a cold and blustery day and on a heavy pitch, the Old Boys had the first meaning-ful attack but Karl Miller just failed to meet a cross with his head as the ball sailed out for a throw-in.

This was more or less the last time that Robins’ keeper Jay Foulds was troubled as the midfield – led by the superb Ben Kay – controlled the game.

Chris McNally should have done better when he headed wide on 22 minutes, and went close moments later with a shot.

However, on 43 minutes Steve Edwards stretched to get on the end of a lovely Andy Mawdesley cross, turned sharply and hit a crisp shot into the corner to give Wigan the half-time advantage.

The second period was all Robins as Howard collected a deserved hat-trick.

His first came on 55 minutes when he latched on to a precision pass from Kay and finished neatly to double the Robins’ lead.

Five minutes later Howard took control of a free-kick 20 yards out and unleashed a rocket drive that took a wicked deflection to beat Rob Hackney in the Old Boys goal.

On 72 minutes he scored his third – his 20th league goal of the season and the Robins’ 100th away goal in the North West Counties League – when he got on the end of a wonderful cross from namesake Adam Howard to head home.

Manager Neafcy then made three substitutions as his side eased to a win and cemented their second place in the table, two points behind Abbey Hey but with three games in hand.

After the game Neafcy said: “It was a good professional performance in terrible conditions and I think after the break we were terrific.

“The three up front all played well and caused a lot of problems but I thought the defence and midfield, led superbly by

Luke Faulkner and Ben Kay respectively, gave us the platform to build on.”

This Saturday the Robins are at home to fourth-placed Irlam in what should be a terrific game.

Kick-off at the Arena is 3pm and admission is £5 (£2.50 concessions).

Elsewhere in the North West Counties top flight action, Ashton Athletic fell to a 4-0 home defeat against Glossop North End as Sam Hind grabbed a first-half hat-trick.

While in Division One, Ashton Town lost 2-1 at home to Abbey Hey.

Lee Edmunds scored a late consolation goal for Town.