OLD Boltonians began their quest for an elusive Premier League title in style with a 4-0 victory over local rivals Little Lever.

Bolts, who finished a narrow second to Prestwich in both of the last two seasons, sent out an early message with two goals from Sean Rushton and one each for Matt McLellan and Dean Hailwood.

It was the perfect start for new manager Steve Eccleshare who has stepped up from second-team manager to replace former boss Julian Stevens who has stepped down after a successful tenure in charge to concentrate on managing his junior side.

McLellan opened the scoring on 30 minutes after good work by Dave Warburton who had to go off shortly after half time with suspected broken ribs.

Rushton then made it two with a fine dribble and shot before Hailwood tapped in the third just before half time after flying winger Lucas Gaynor had raced to the byline and delivered a pinpoint cross.

Left winger Rushton, who continued his impressive scoring record of last season, nodded in Lee Worswick’s cross on 75 minutes.

Howe Bridge Mills produced a rousing comeback after trailing 4-1 to Mostonians at the end of a first-half performance manager Paul White described as “awful”.

The Atherton side conceded two early goals and, after centre midfielder Dave Hogan halved the deficit, leaked another two before the break.

A stern talking to at the interval and a renewed determination saw them storm back with two goals from Scott Fletcher – the first a penalty – and a deserved equaliser five minutes from time when striker Chris Anderton fired in after a short corner was played to him.

“We clicked into gear after half time and it was a good second-half performance to come back from 4-1 down,” said White.

New-look Horwich Victoria succumbed to two set pieces in the second half in a 3-1 home defeat to Failsworth Dynamos.

Dean Spencer cancelled out the visitors’ opening goal in the 35th minute.

Victoria are rebuilding after losing a number of players in the summer.

In the First Division, newly-promoted Farnworth Town drew 0-0 away to Rossendale, who were relegated last season, with the local side hitting the post and having an effort cleared off the line in the last 10 minutes.