MANCHESTER LEAGUE: Round-up of Saturday's action
HINDSFORD manager Lee Bennett believes his team’s success in reaching the Gilgryst Cup final can give his players the confidence to get their Premier Division title hat-trick bid back on track.
The Squires Lane men, whose indifferent league form has seen them surrender top spot to Royton Town in recent weeks, came from behind to beat Walshaw Sports in Saturday’s semi-final.
Bennett, satisfied with what he described as a “good performance against decent opposition”, reckons his players have regained the momentum they lost during a sticky period as they look to make up a four-point gap on the leaders, who have played two games more.
“We seem to have turned the corner,” he said. “We looked better when we won at Old Alts the previous week and it looked like we had the desire again on Saturday, so there are good signs.
“Anyone can win this league but if we can stay in touch until the last couple of weeks, it can be us. We are capable of winning the title.
“Every team goes through a bad patch during a season, unfortunately ours came at a bad time. But it looks like we are over it now.”
Trailing 1-0 at half time to a freak own goal, Hindsford hit back in the second half, Chris Hopwood scoring the equaliser and Rico Stewart netting the winner with 20 minutes to go.
“They threw the kitchen sink at us but we weathered the storm and we hit the post when we could have made it more comfortable,” added Bennett.
Hindsford will play mid-table AFC Monton in the final, looking to avenge a shock 9-4 defeat earlier in the season – their first loss of the campaign.
Ryan Rathbone scored both goals as holders Atherton Town reached the final of the Murray Shield with a 2-1 victory over Division One rivals Breightmet United to keep alive their hopes of a promotion and cup double.
Shaun Lynch’s side, who are third in the table – nine points behind leaders Elton Vale and second-placed Chapel Town but with four games and three games in hand, respectively – will meet Vale in the final.
Breightmet were shellshocked after Rathbone put Town ahead straight from the kick-off, but recovered with Gary McShane equalising with a volley.
But Rathbone netted his second just before half time and that proved decisive.
“I have no grumbles, no whinges,” said Breightmet boss Simon Wilcox.
“They had more chances than us but I thought we could have done so much better.
“Considering it was a semi-final, we just didn’t get out of second gear in the second half and that was disappointing.”