OLD Boltonians’ Premier Division title bid remains on track after Julian Stevens’ side earned another three points with a 2-1 win at Old Blackburnians.
Dean Hailwood broke the deadlock on 55 minutes with a superb individual goal.
He showed great skill on what was a difficult pitch to dribble across the field from the halfway line, beating four players in the process, before expertly slotting into the corner.
When Ben Lenders was fouled from a corner on 70 minutes, captain James Kinsler made it 2-0 from the spot.
And, despite an 80th-minute reply from Old Blacks, Stevens’ men got the win their play deserved.
It now looks like only reigning champions Prestwich can catch them. If Craig Howarth’s title-holders win all six games they have in hand on Old Bolts they will be one point ahead.
Prestwich showed the fighting spirit that saw them pip Old Bolts to the title on the final day of last season when they clawed out three points with a 1-0 victory over Horwich Victoria.
Dave Walker – Vics’ joint manager – believes the battle between the title favourites could be intriguing.
“We had most of our team missing and still deserved something out of the game,” he said.
“If we had played Old Bolts with so many players out I would expect to lose by more.
“But the thing about Prestwich is they do this every year. They grind out results so you can never count them out.”
Castle Hill remain second, winning 2-1 at Rossendale Amateurs despite having nine players missing.
“We were lucky we were only one goal down at half time,” said manager Robert Rostron.
“It should have been three or four but we had a word at half time and improved.”
Kieran Seals levelled five minutes after the break when he converted after Saul Rostron burst forward and pulled the ball back.
Man of the match Jason Perry grabbed an excellent winner for the Tonge Moor men on 75 minutes when he beat his man, cut inside and slotted into the far corner.
Rostron added: “They hit the bar straight from the kick off but we held out and a win’s a win that keeps us in second.”