LANCASHIRE AMATEUR LEAGUE: Old Boltonians 'best is yet to come' after win over Horwich Victoria
OLD Boltonians have reached the halfway point of the Premier League campaign unbeaten, and manager Julian Stevens believes they have not yet kicked into gear.
The Chapeltown men extended their lead to six points with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Horwich Victoria, which remained in the balance until the final whistle.
And with second-placed Castle Hill three points clear of third-placed Old Mancunians who are four clear of the rest, Old Bolts have a big cushion going into the second half of the season.
But that is unlikely to lead to complacency with the memory of losing last season’s title by a single point still fresh.
“There’s a real appetite about the team this season,” said Stevens.
“I still feel we have not reached our full potential in any game yet and that there is a lot more to come, which is good.
“It’s an achievement to reach halfway unbeaten and football’s a patience game so I’m sure we’ll see the best of us sooner or later.”
Kyle Rose put Old Bolts ahead on 20 minutes when he latched on to a long ball over the top from the goalkeeper, outstrengthed the centre half and rounded Vics keeper Paris Nuttall.
Vics levelled when Luke Skelly converted from the spot after Robin Myers brought down Jordan Coop on 35 minutes.
But Old Bolts restored their lead on the stroke of half time when Sean Rushton and Rob Taylor broke down the left and the latter finished clinically from a tight angle.
An evenly-matched game then saw Nuttall make an oustanding save from a free kick to keep Vics in the hunt, and Scott Adamson almost put the Horwich men level when he hit a post.
Castle Hill showed impressive resilience in a goalless draw at Old Mancunians which the Bolton side’s manager Rob Rostron described as “one of the best games I’ve been involved in in 16 years”.
“The commitment and passion from every player was 110 per cent, and both teams were buzzing after the game,” said Rostron.
Central midfielders Paul Fletcher and Carl Henry ran themselves into the ground for the Tonge Moor team, and Ben Wells found the back of the net twice, only for both efforts to be ruled offside.
Little Lever SC went through to the fourth round of the Lancashire Amateur Cup with a 6-2 victory at Hoole United, while Howe Bridge Mills went out following a 4-2 defeat at Mayfield United.
All the talk among the Little Lever team afterwards was about one goal.
“We all said it was one of the best goals we have ever scored,” said captain Andy Bingham.
“The ball was passed along the full back four then through nearly every player to the wing where it was crossed and Scott Bingham scored with a diving header.”
That was one of two goals for Bingham with Matt Woods and Ste Barlow also bagging braces.
Little Lever are at home to fellow LAL Premier Division side Tottington United in the fourth round.