HINDSFORD’S home match against Royton was one of just six that beat the weather on Saturday, but the Premier Division leaders were wishing it hadn’t after they lost for only the second time this season.
The 4-3 defeat allied to second-placed Stockport Georgians’ 2-1 win at Walshaw Sports cut Hindsford’s lead to just one point, throwing the title race wide open.
“Obviously, we wished we’d never played,” said Hindsford manager Lee Bennett, whose side are chasing a record-equalling third successive championship.
“We didn’t play too badly but the pitch was undoubtedly a leveller and we can’t go giving away penalties and silly goals.
“Mistakes cost us on Saturday, but I’m looking at it as just a blip.
“It’s a warning to our players though. We’ve got 10 games to play and they’re all going to be tough because everybody’s looking to knock us off our perch.”
Hindsford came from behind to lead with goals from Tom Valentine and Chris Hopwood before Royton got it back to 2-2 at half time.
Valentine’s second of the match put Bennett’s men back in front but the visitors levelled again with a penalty – having missed one in the first half – before securing victory with a well-worked winner.
Breightmet United consolidated their position in the top six of the First Division with a 5-2 home win against struggling Wilmslow Albion. Heavy conditions at Moss Park meant good football was at a premium, but Simon Wilcox’s young side adapted well and their strength and determination earned them a well-deserved three points.
“It was hard controlling the ball and passing on that surface and it was all about graft,” Wilcox said. “They put in the hard yards and worked their socks off.”
Leading 2-0 at half time through goals from Kyle Bailey and Ash Farlowe, United were always in control and confirmed their superiority after the break with the in-form Bailey scoring a second and Dean Banks converting a penalty.
Wilmslow pulled one back and grabbed a later consolation after Scott Lock netted United’s fifth with a header.
Leigh Athletic were desperately unlucky not to come come away from second-placed Chapel Town with at least a point after playing their part in an end-to-end game at the Rowton Ground, where the home side sealed a 4-3 win just two minutes from time.
The Latics are playing catch-up on the fixture list after having a number of games postponed in recent weeks, but looked far from ring rusty when Jack Kenny gave them an early lead.
Town hit back to lead 2-1 but a Stephen Brockley penalty put the Leigh men level at half time.
The home side regained the lead just after the break but when James Dooley equalised, the Latics, who are third from bottom of the table but with games in hand on most of their rivals, scented victory, only for their hopes to be dashed in the closing minutes.