HAVING finally benefited from some long-overdue luck, Thornleigh manager Aaron McCarthy has set his sights on two targets.

The Castle Hill-based team remain second-bottom in the Premier Division but, after a win against Old Boltonians and a point from their draw with Old Blackburnians in the league, they progressed to the last eight of the League Cup with Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Prestwich.

They fell behind to their hosts’ opener 55 minutes in as Stefan Rapacz turned in a cross off the underside of the crossbar. But Kennedy Corvelli’s fifth goal in three games restored parity 10 minutes later and as the tie looked to be heading for penalties a calamitous own goal for Prestwich settled it in Thornleigh’s favour.

It may have come about via a huge slice of luck but, in a campaign spent floundering in the bottom reaches of the table, McCarthy was – at long last – happy to accept some good fortune.

“Our winning goal with about two minutes left, was one of the flukiest goals I’ve ever seen,” he declared. “I’m not complaining though, it’s time a freak goal went our way, we’ve been getting no luck all season so we’ll take that.

“It’s put us into the quarter-finals, and we play Radcliffe Town in that game. They may be a Division One team but we won’t take them lightly, not at all, especially the way a lot of games have gone for us this season.

“Not that long ago we’d have gone a goal down and the heads would have dropped but on Saturday we kept playing the same way, working hard as a team and we got back into it.

“It’s the quarter-finals for us, win that and we’re in the semis which would be a big boost for us.

“We’ll respect Radcliffe but if we go out and do what we’ve been doing in the last few weeks we’ll be confident of going through.

“We’re gaining a bit of momentum and we want to go far in the cup, it’s a nice distraction from the league.”

Any distraction will have been welcome as Thornleigh occupy second-bottom place in the Premier Division table, with only the seemingly-doomed Bury GSOB below them.

McCarthy admits morale has been low at Castle Hill this season but even though title challengers Whitworth Valley provide this weekend’s opposition he insists they are getting the bit between their teeth for the forthcoming battle to stay in the top flight.

“Whitworth beat us 2-1 at their place, we were unlucky in that game,” added the manager. “We felt we deserved a draw so we’ll go into it knowing we’ll have to work hard. Whitworth are a very physical side but we are too, and we know we can match them – and any team in this league – on our day.

“Kennedy scored a hat-trick two weeks ago against Old Bolts, he got another last week and scored our equaliser on Saturday. We have been grafting hard but missing someone to just put the ball in the net – his goals can keep us up, though.

“We’re building that momentum and we might have a cup final to come if we can keep it going.

“We are reasonably confident we can get out of relegation danger, Little Lever have got a few points on the board now so they’re doing okay but we’ve still got Rossendale and Blackrod, the two teams above us, to play at home.

“Rossendale are a point in front and Blackrod two points ahead, so it’s very tight but it is definitely in our own hands.”

Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Little Lever pulled further clear of danger with a 3-2 win at home to Bury GSOB.

West Lancashire League action saw Tempest United beat Southport Hesketh 2-1 in the Premier Division, with goals coming from Liam Rice and Luke Skelly.

There were wins in Division One for CMB and Eagley, against Askam United and Millom, respectively.

Charlie Scholes’ hat-trick followed Andy Bishop’s goal to give the Chew Moor side a 4-2 victory that takes them to the top of the table while the Eagles’ goals came from Nick Haynes, Danny Holroyd and Bailey Wallace, with Millom contributing a late own goal to seal victory for Eagley.

There were defeats in the Manchester League for Premier Division side Bolton County, 4-0 at home to Rochdale Sacred Heart, and Breightmet United, who fell to a 14-2 loss at Hearts’ reserves in Division Two.

There was reward for Bolton Lads and Girls’ Club, who drew 2-2 at Govan Athletic.

Daisy Hill and Atherton LR both suffered defeats in the Hallmark Security league First Division North.

The Daisies fell to a 4-1 loss at Ashton Town, Macauley Farmington scoring their goal, while Atherton were beaten 8-1 by Longridge Town, Keiran Halliwell on target for the division’s bottom team.