Defeat for Town but Pilks win five goal thriller
St Helens Town could hardly have made a more inauspicious opening to the new North West Counties League season on Saturday going down 5-2 against Atherton LR.
Hoping to start their first division north programme with a bang, they crumbled like a freshly-baked loaf of bread against their near neighbours and will be seeking a much better display when they travel to Garstang on Wednesday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
Luke Nicholls was their destroyer-in-chief and completed a hat-trick either side of half-time.
Connor Comber set the scoring in motion as early as the third minute after being given too much room to manoeuvre before firing home from long range.
He added a second in the 23rd minute and when Nicholls swooped to notch the first of his threesome, Town seemed on the rocky road to defeat.
To their credit, however, the hosts hit back just before the interval through Joel Douglas who guided the ball home following good approach play by Sam Hughes and Josh Craig. to reduce the interval deficit to 3-1.
It gave the shell-shocked hosts renewed hope they could pull the game out of the fire but it proved a false dawn as Nicholls restored the visitors' three-goal cushion in the 63rd minute.
Town responded with an 83rd minute header from Liam Diggle before Nicholls completed his hat-trick in the dying minutes
Substitute Cliff was also shown the red card to end a miserable day for the Ruskin Drive outfit.
Teams - Town: Wolland, Brown, Apperley, Kamara, Kennan, McMahon, Clegg, Devlin, Diggle (Liam), Hughes, Douglas. Subs: Cliff, Colford, Diggle (Luke), McHugh, Rugg.
Atherton: Buckley, Craven, Mahal, Lawrence, Ikin, Howell, Nicholls, Chadwick, Comber, Dale, Boyles. Subs: Russell,Hall, Holness, Pendlebury, Barlow.
PILKINGTON FC 3
The Glassmen produced a late three-goal blitz to pick up two well deserved points in a hard fought NWCL first division fixture at Victoria Park and will go into Wednesday night's home game against Daisy Hill (kick-off 7.45pm) brimming with confidence.
Pilks trailed 1-0 after only 11 minute through a Mabhena effort but started to find their feet in the second half and netted three times via Bate (73 mins), Marsh (75 mins) and Ditch (82 mins).
The hosts struck again via Laird (88 mins) but too late to alter the course of the game.
Nelson: Little, Mabhena,Lloyd (Sam), Ditch,Savin, Lloyd (Charlie), Meredith, Julien, Foster, Holt, Webb. Subs: Lloyd (Kit), Lawrence, Cattermole, Ince, Lancaster.
Pilks: Campbell,Whelan, Howard, Giglio, Curtis, Cottingham, Marsh, Bate, Laird, Gilchrist, Quirk. Subs: Watson, Bickerstaffe, Neill, Maddock, Presho.
The reborn Macclesfield Town club made a winning start to their first year in the NWCL premier division at the weekend.
The former Football League side, who went into liquidation and then reemerged with new owners, beat Burscough 1-0 at home on Saturday in front of 2,018 fans - one of the highest crowds to watch a NWCL game since it was formed in 1982 following the amalgamation of the Lancashire Combination and the Cheshire League.