DIVISION One promotion hopefuls Atherton Town put themselves back in the hunt for a league and cup double with a 5-0 thrashing of third-placed Heywood St James.

Atherton remain in fourth, but cut the gap to Heywood in the final promotion place to two points with a game in hand.

Victory at home to league leaders Elton Vale on Saturday would leave Atherton nine points off top spot, but with four games in hand.

And Breightmet United await in the semi-finals of the Murray Trophy the following weekend.

“Our main aim is to win a league and cup double,” manager Shaun Lynch.

“We are the best side in the league, we have just had problems with injuries and unavailability, but when we are able to field our strongest 11 nobody can touch us.”

That was the case at the weekend, when 18-year-old winger Jack Marshall inspired a fantastic team performance with two goals and two assists.

Dane Grimes set up the first two goals, putting in Nick Easton, who chipped the Heywood keeper on 55 minutes, threading a pass to Marshall, who made no mistake with his one-on-one.

Marshall got lucky with Atherton’s third after his cross-shot was deflected into the net. The young midfielder then turned provider, as Elliott Waugh and then Matt Eckersley headed home his corners.

Atherton’s title push was given a further shot in the arm by Leigh Athletic’s shock 4-2 victory at home to Elton Vale – a win that moved them up to ninth in the table.

Centre-half David Dooley and striker Jack Kenny shared two goals apiece in a see-saw match.

Breightmet United went down 3-2 in their mid-table match at Beechfield United.

Simon Wilcox’s side roared back after going into the break 2-0 down.

A Dean Banks penalty and neat finish from Gary McShane put them back on level terms, but they never recovered after Beechfield edged back in front with a breakaway goal.

Hinsford’s poor run of form continued in the Premier Division after extending their winless streak to five matches with a 3-3 draw at title rivals AVRO.

Lee Bennett’s side will be kicking themselves after failing to capitalise on Rico Stewart’s brace and an opener from David Moreno.

The league champions remain in third, seven points behind leaders Royton Town but with three games in hand.

Their main challenge, however, may come from Stockport Georgians and AVRO, in fourth and fifth place respectively, who both have three games in hand.