MANCHESTER LEAGUE: Rico stars for super Hindsford
HINDSFORD sent a message to the rest of the Premier Division that they can achieve a hat-trick of title wins when they returned to the top of the table with a resounding 3-1 win at Manchester Gregorians.
Despite again being forced to make changes to his starting line-up, manager Lee Bennett came up with a winning formula – but it took a stirring second-half display to bank the three points.
After a scoreless first half, the champions for the last two seasons went in front through an own goal when man-of-the-match Rico Stewart pressured the home keeper into a rushed clearance which rebounded off a defender into the net.
Stewart doubled the lead with a powerful 18-yard shot and Ryan Briody added a third to put the result beyond doubt.
Gregs claimed a late consolation, scoring at the third attempt after Matthew Ince had tipped one shot onto his crossbar and seen a follow-up shot hit the post.
Atherton Town maintained their 100 per cent start in Division One with a 1-0 home win against Beechfield United, courtesy of a late Ryan Heapey header.
The Howe Bridge side, who are second in the table, controlled the first half but were second best after the break, leaving manager Shaun Lynch to admit: “Sometimes you don’t play so well and still get something out of the game.
“We bossed the first half and they came back at us strongly in the second. We still haven’t played any of the better teams yet, but that was our third clean sheet in a row which is pleasing.”
Breightmet United produced a stirring second-half performance to beat Chapel Town 2-0 at Moss Park.
Kurt Farlough and Jack Rigby got the goals as Simon Wilcox’s young side responded to a change of tactics at half time.
“We played 4-4-2 in the first half and it was a bit flat,” he said. “So I decided to go 4-2-4 and use our energy levels and we battered them.
“The energy and workrate were second to none in the second half and I told the lads that if they give me that every week, we won’t be far off in this league.”
Leigh Athletic were always behind at AFC Bury, but they might have rescued a point after pulling it back to 6-5 – only to beaten by the clock.