OLD Boltonians bounced back from their frustrating Lancashire FA Cup exit to maintain their lead at the top of the Premier Division.

They did so at the expense of local rivals Blackrod Town, winning a hard-fought derby 4-2 to stay clear of their nearest challengers Rossendale, who boast a 100-per-cent winning record this season.

Nick Holt and Rob Taylor had been on target for Old Bolts in the first half and Lucas Gaynor tapped in their third. Matty Davies, a regular in Steve Eccleshare’s LAL inter-league team, struck twice for the hosts but Matt McLellan scored a fourth to keep them sitting pretty at the summit.

It was a hugely satisfying victory, particularly after being on the receiving end of some contentious decisions at Barrow Celtic seven days earlier in a defeat that ended their defence of the LFA Cup.

“It’s always tricky at Blackrod but always a good game against them as well,” said Eccleshare. “There’s a real slope on their pitch and if you don’t get your goals when you’re going down it you could be in trouble.

“We got two going downhill in the first half, we didn’t think we’d quite done enough because we felt they could get two and we wanted a cushion to absorb what they’d throw at us.

“They did get two but we’d scored our third early in the second half and went to hit them on the break after that.

“Matty [Davies] is definitely their main threat, I know how good he is – we thought we did a good job on him but he still got two goals.

“It was a good win, just what we needed after that game at Barrow the week before – the ref and liner were embarrassing, we scored three and had four disallowed, but only for offside once the ball had actually hit the netting. I’ve never seen a game like it, having four goals disallowed once they’ve gone in.”

The win sees Old Bolts stay clear of Rossendale, a team they have yet to play this season, but Eccleshare is also wary of the threat posed by champions Failsworth Dynamos, who are starting to climb the table after a shaky start to their title defence.

And, without now having to defend their own prize from last term, the manager is determined to push on in the league, well aware they have won nothing yet.

“We’re at the top but we won’t get carried away, there’s still the middle and the end of the season to get through,” he added. “Rossendale are going well, we haven’t played them yet and we have Failsworth to play twice as well.

“I still think Failsworth will be the team to beat, they’re back up to strength and they’re always going to be up there. They are a great bunch and they deserve their success, but we’ll just keep chipping away at the games and going about our business. And if Rossendale are up there challenging too I don’t mind, it all keeps us on our toes.

“Not that we’d mind a few favours from our friends at Blackrod, Little Lever or Horwich. And they’re capable of helping us out, they’re all good teams in this league, that’s why we won’t be taking Bury GSOB lightly on Saturday.”

This weekend’s opponents are second-bottom in the table, and suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Old Bolts in August, but Eccleshare says they will prepare right, go in with the right attitude and hopefully welcome back some of the eight absentees from last weekend.

“We had eight regulars missing against Blackrod, at least five of which would be starters,” he said. “But our squad is at a good level, we’ve had to cope with having people missing each week. We’ll give Bury the respect they deserve, because they’re no mugs.

“The moment you don’t do that you end up with egg on your face.”

Elsewhere, Horwich St Mary’s Victoria were 3-0 winners against Old Blackburnians while Little Lever brought home a point from their 3-3 draw at Bury GSOB.

In Division One, Bolton Wyresdale drew 2-2 at Hesketh Casuals with Mark Grundy and Joe Rayner scoring. A tricky day for them saw them go into the match with 10 players missing and they trailed 2-0 at half time.

But those goals earned them a draw, and they made history when they brought on substitute Trevor Griffiths 15 minutes from time. At the age of 58 he became the oldest player to represent the club’s first XI.

Wyresdale are the last remaining local team in the LAL involved in the LFA Cup, and they take on Longshaw in the last 16 this Saturday.

n MANCHESTER League side Bolton County progressed in the Gilgryst Cup, thanks to a shootout victory at Royton Town.

Jake Howells, Jordan McLoughlin and Liam Short had all netted in a 3-3 draw and with the teams unable to be separated they went to penalties, and Mark Ormrod’s men won 5-4.

There was no such cup joy for Breightmet United, as they lost their Murray Trophy match at Radcliffe Juniors 5-0.