THEIR torrid start is behind them and it is now time for the real Old Boltonians to step up, says manager Steve Eccleshare.

His side beat a free-scoring Standish St Wilfrids 2-1 in the Lancashire Amateur Cup on Saturday, and Eccleshare says their early-season wobbles should now be behind them.

Runners-up in the Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division last season, Old Bolts have stuttered in this campaign and sit third-bottom with 10 points from nine games.

But Eccleshare – who led the LAL’s representative side to a 3-1 win at Liverpool County League last night – says their selection problems are all but over now and they are aiming to thrive in cup and league action.

“I felt like it was my birthday on Saturday,” he told The Bolton News.

“It was our 12th game this season and the first time we’ve had anything like a first-choice squad to pick from.

“We haven’t had the same back four in two games yet, and against Mostonians last week we couldn’t even field a forward line.

“Apart from our goalkeeper no one has played more than six or seven of our games but we think we’re getting our settled side now. If we can stay injury-free we can hopefully get on a roll and build some momentum, in the league and cup.

“The injuries are easing and the holiday season is over, it’s time we started our season now.”

Old Bolts progressed in Saturday’s cup match thanks to a goal from one of the returning players, James Edmonson, and Leon Farrimond’s winner.

And the victory – against a Standish side who have averaged five goals per game en route to top spot in the Mid-Lancashire League Premier Division – showed the manager what they are capable of.

“Standish are a very decent team, they’re flying at the moment, they’ve obviously got goals in them and their number nine is a key player but we had Nathan Collier on him, keeping him quiet, he did a great job for us.

“James has been out for a while with family and work commitments but he was our man of the match on Saturday, his goal was a half-volley from the edge of the box, it was a great goal.

“We’ve got Dave Warburton out, which is a big miss for us, but Jamie Darby took the armband and did a good job.

“Warby has been struggling with an ankle problem, he injured it in a charity game at the end of last season and he’s just not been able to shake it off but Jamie did very well.

“We’ve got a few more lads to come back so while we’re down near the bottom of the table we’ve got a few games in hand.

“We’ll just look to go on a run, find our form and pick up points to start climbing.”

Blackrod Town also progressed to round four after their 2-1 win at Southport Trinity.

The derby tie between Atherton Town and Thornleigh needed penalties to decide a winner, and Atherton went through, winning a shootout 7-6 after the sides had drawn 3-3.

In Premier Division action, Little Lever were defeated 6-4 in their match at Old Blackburnians while Bolton Wyresdale continue to top Division One after their 6-3 win at home to Rochdale St Clements Reserves.

Elsewhere, Tempest United and Turton registered much-needed victories away from home in the West Lancashire League Premier Division.

Tempest took three points from their trip to Poulton, with Gareth Roberts and Aaron Thorpe netting in their 2-1 victory, while Emmanuel Yoak and Kieron Sisson were on target as Turton won 2-0 at Coppull United.

The two top-flight teams are back on the road this Saturday for Lancashire FA Amateur Shield quarter-finals, Tempest travelling to Coppull and the Tigers heading for a date with Daten.

There were Lancashire Amateur Cup exits for Stoneclough, who lost 2-1 at Highgrove, and Horwich St Marys Victoria, who drew 2-2 with Chaddertonians but lost the ensuing penalty shootout 3-2.

Bolton Lads and Girls Club did progress in the cup, however, as Jack Alderson scored twice and Ashley Reece once in their 3-2 victory at Astley and Tyldesley.

There were league defeats for Bolton County, who lost 2-1 at home to East Manchester in the Premier Division, Chris Hough getting their goal, and Breightmet United, who were defeated 4-0 at home to Hindsford Reserves.

In the Hallmark Security League Daisy Hill’s Ashley Stott and Jack Iley – who between them have now accounted for all of the Daisies’ last 12 goals – both found the net early in the game but they fell to a 4-2 defeat at Bacup Borough.

Atherton LR sank to the bottom of the First Division North table as they suffered a sixth straight defeat.

LR went down 1-0 at home to Holker Old Boys, who had started the day at the bottom on goal difference.

Neither local side has it any easier this Saturday, as Daisy Hill make the journey north to title-challenging Carlisle City while LR take a break from their league woes but have a tricky assignment as they go to Premier Division side Abbey Hey in the Macron Cup.