THERE is little to endear a manager to a club’s fans more than a victory over one of your local, and most deadly, rivals.

So Little Lever’s stand-in manager Craig Bingham is rightly delighted after they inflicted a first defeat of the season on Premier League leaders Old Boltonians.

Bingham’s team was given a handy boost with the return of Matty Woods and Chris Beatty, after both had teamed up with former manager Matt Barnes at Maine Road.

Matty Woods scored all three of Lever’s goals but despite that – and the quality of his strikes – it was Beatty taking the man-of-the-match award from player-manager Bingham who has won three of his four games at the helm and, assisted by Rhys Day, is to remain in charge for the rest of the season.

“It was a belting start to the year for us,” said Bingham. “I don’t think it was an unexpected win either, not by me.

“I know Steve [Eccleshare, Old Bolts boss] well and I knew what to expect from them and how to cope with the threat they have.

“We pressed them high up the pitch, we thought we’d get chances that way. I knew we were capable of beating them and it’s nice to get one over on the top team.”

Woods’ first goal came midway through the first half as he capitalised on an under-hit clearance from the Old Bolts keeper to send it back into the goal.

After a second goal was ruled out for what Bingham said was a ‘dubious’ offside decision, Woods did get number two, slamming in after cutting out a wayward pass.

After the break Woods completed his hat-trick, collecting a pass from Bingham and chipping the visitors’ keeper. It was almost Woods 4 Old Bolts 0 moments later but a stunning volley thudded against the upright.

And with time running out Old Bolts – who stay top of the table, despite the defeat – netted a consolation through Rob Taylor, who turned in a cross to ensure Eccleshare’s side did not draw their first blank of the season.

“We definitely deserved to win,” added Bingham. “I think a few of theirs didn’t really turn up. We were aggressive and just wanted it more.

“Old Bolts are still top and Rossendale second but they still have to play each other twice, so we have to keep winning and see where it takes us.”

The derby result means Rossendale gained ground on Old Bolts, thanks to their 2-1 win at home to Horwich St Mary’s Victoria.