LANCASHIRE AMATEUR LEAGUE: Dean fires Farnworth Town towards top-two finish
A LAST-MINUTE winner from Grant Dean saw Division Two side Farnworth Town take a giant stride towards promotion.
Playing away at one of their biggest rivals for a top-two spot, Accrington Amateurs, the game was finely poised at 1-1 when Farnworth got a free kick on the edge of the box.
With only seconds remaining, Dean stepped up and curled an inch-perfect effort into the far corner to seal the points, while the two other teams vying for second spot lost.
Farnworth are now fifth, four points behind the two teams immediately above them with four games in hand and four points behind second-placed Accrington with three in hand.
The Harper Green-based side conceded with the last kick of the first half, but recovered to equalise on 70 minutes with a flowing move ended by striker Danny Wharton, who rifled home from 20-yards.
Old Boltonians saw off Rossendale Amateurs to remain 13 points clear of the only other team who can win the Premier Division.
But with reigning champions Prestwich having six games in hand, the title destination is in their hands.
It was a straightforward victory for Julian Stevens’ side who have lost only one game all season and missed out on last year’s race for top spot by an agonising one point.
Centre-half Jamie Brabbin fired home the first in a goalmouth scramble, Tom Whittaker beat the offside trap for the second and Matt McClellan gave Bolts a 3-0 half-time lead.
Substitute Sean Rushton also beat the offside trap to make it 4-0 on 75 minutes and McClellan and Lee Worswick produced some intricate interplay before the latter bent his shot round the keeper.
“We did what we had to do, now all we can do is try to beat Castle Hill in our final game and see what Prestwich do in their games in hand,” said Stevens.
Fifth-placed Little Lever completed a gruelling run of five games in eight days with an exciting 3-2 victory at Rochdale St Clements.
Lee Buckley’s side went 2-0 up when Scott Bingham converted Leon Farrimond’s cross and Andy Bingham drilled in a shot from just outside the box.
Rochdale levelled with goals on 40 and 65 minutes, but Jamie Woodall side-footed home to win for the Mytham Road men in injury time.
Goalkeeper Dan Riding kept the score down with a fine performance when fourth-bottom Howe Bridge Mills went down 3-0 at home to Failsworth Dynamos.
Liam Fitzmorris and David Hogan spurned a couple of chances to put the Atherton side ahead before fourth-placed Failsworth took control.