A HAPPY new year at Turton saw Craig Jones’ Tigers land a psychological blow on Coppull United, their opponents in next month’s Lancashire FA Shield semi-final.

Turton did the double over the Chorley side in the Premier Division as first-half goals from Osman Karacan and Jay Ralphson gave them their second 2-0 victory of the season.

And, with a place in the county’s Shield final at stake when they meet at Atherton LR’s Crilly Park ground on February 13, Jones says, although Coppull will be a tough nut to crack a third time, it is his side who will go into the semi-final high on confidence.

“It was a decent win to start the year,” he said. “It’s good to get one over them, that’s twice we’ve played them in the league and we’ve scored four and not conceded against a good side.

“They may be second-bottom in the table but they shouldn’t be down there, they’ve got some good players, I’ve looked at bringing one or two in before myself. I can’t put my finger on why they don’t seem to have gelled but it’s no surprise to me that they’re in the semi-finals of the shield, they won it in 2015 and it’s not going to be easy when we play them in a few weeks.”

Saturday’s victory was Turton’s first game since the festive break and Jones admits he was delighted the work he and his players put in over Christmas and new year was worth it.

Having seen what seasonal excesses can do to a team when they return to action, he was determined his Tigers would be fighting fit and raring to go this time around.

“We kept working hard over Christmas,” he added. “I know from my own playing days how important it is to stay in some sort of shape, it’s almost like beginning the season again, so we trained quite a few times over the break and the lads responded, it paid off, we made sure we came out of that first game back with something so it was worth it.

“We play Euxton Villa this weekend, we lost to them in the league at home but beat them in the cup recently so they’ll be champing at the bit.

“We’re feeling good about where we are though, we’re 16 points clear of the bottom two and my first priority in my first season here as manager was to ensure we stayed in the Premier Division, we feel we’ve probably done enough to make sure of that so we can kick on now and concentrate on what’s in front of us, not what’s below us.”

Turton did unveil a new feature at Thomason Fold on Saturday, one that should serve to inspire them in years to come.

The players clubbed together to buy a hoarding in memory of club stalwart Ernie Charnock, who passed away in July.

The hoarding in memory of ‘Mr Turton FC’ was fixed to the side of the pitch, watched by his sons Simon and Stephen, both former players, in recognition of more than half a century’s service by their father.

And Jones had his own kind words for one of the league’s most popular hosts, who carried out virtually every role in his long association with the club.

“I only met Ernie a handful of times,” he told The Bolton News. “But from the first meeting I could tell he was the heartbeat of this club, you couldn’t say a bad word about him.

“It was a great gesture from the lads, they all chipped in, including the ones who only came this season.

“There is a great togetherness here and this is a real family club, I can’t imagine how much time he gave to Turton, so it’s lovely that his sons were there on Saturday and we got the result for him.

“He will be a massive loss but he’ll be there watching every home game and he’ll be in everyone’s thoughts.”

Tempest United are 12th in the table, behind Turton on goal difference, after their 2-1 defeat at home to Southport Hesketh.

Liam Rice looked to have rescued a point with an 85th-minute equaliser but Tempest conceded a second on 90 minutes.

There was also a defeat for Eagley in Division One, as they returned from Kendal County empty-handed, Finlay Coward and Jacob Greenhalgh scoring in a 3-2 loss.

Elsewhere Stoneclough drew 1-1 at Wyre Villa and Division Two leaders Horwich St Marys Victoria needed a last-minute equaliser from Ryan Lilley to draw 2-2 with Dalton United.

In the Manchester League, Bolton County drew 2-2 with Hindsford, Godwin May and Jordan McLoughlin getting the goals, while Bolton Lads and Girls Club enjoyed a 2-0 win at Burnley United in the Lancashire FA Amateur Cup.

Division Two strugglers Breightmet United suffered a 19-0 defeat at Avro reserves.

It was not a good day for local Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division sides with Old Boltonians beaten 6-0 at Rochdale St Clements, Blackrod Town defeated 8-1 by Burnley Belvedere and Thornleigh losing 5-1 at home to Rossendale.

Bolton Wyresdale continue to lead the way in Division One as they won their derby at home to Horwich RMI 3-2.

In the Hallmark Security League First Division North Daisy Hill lost by the only goal of the game at home to AFC Blackpool.

Atherton LR’s fixture at home to Lower Breck was postponed. LR had been suspended by the league under League Rule 11 for non-payment of debts owing to the league.

Club chairman Jane Wilcock told The Bolton News the club has now made repayments and, as of this weekend, will be back in action.