THE best teams pull victories out of the bag when not at their best.

And that is exactly what Turton did as they kicked off their defence of the Lancashire FA Amateur Shield.

The Tigers won the first Shield in their history in May, beating Thornton Cleveleys 1-0 at the LFA’s Leyland headquarters.

And while they are understandably reluctant to release their hold on the 113-year-old trophy, manager Craig Jones says there was little pressure on his side as they travelled to Bolton County for a first-round derby, eventually triumphing 3-2 to set up a tie against Haslingden St Mary’s in the next round.

“Turton had never won the Shield in more than 100 years and it’s a competition where virtually no one wins it back-to-back,” said Jones.

“So there was some pressure on us as the holders but we want to do well in it again this year. It’s the highest-level trophy we can play for at this level.

“It was never going to be easy going to Bolton County, they’re going really well in the Manchester League Premier and won all five of their league games at home.”

And, strong side as their Radcliffe Road hosts are, Jones used the competition to try out some alterations to his team, which sits 10th in the West Lancashire League Premier Division ahead of this weekend’s game at Euxton Villa.

The changes were far from successful, and the Tigers boss returned to his tried-and-tested formula, with little effect until a crucial moment came after the midway point of the first half.

“We were truly awful,” he told The Bolton News.

“We had a few changes, to our system and in our personnel because I wanted to give a couple of younger lads a go and see how we adapted but we were given a real rough ride for 25 minutes or so. I was very disappointed at how two-dimensional we were, we have to be more versatile than that.

“It was potentially the worst I’ve seen us play since I came to the club, and even after we reverted back to what we know we still weren’t good – our touch was poor, so many passes were going astray and it was just a bad day at the office.”

The tie’s turning point came with a penalty for Turton, as a former County striker came back to haunt his old club.

Liam Stewart was the man fouled, allowing Kieran Sissons to step up and fire in the opener from the spot.

“Liam is a very crafty forward,” added Jones. “He’s been around and he knows what he’s doing, he basically drew a foul from his man and we’re very happy with Kieran on penalty duty, he rarely misses.

“County equalised before the break so while we hadbn’t been good we were still in it at 1-1.

“Dan Locke scored for us in the second half and Ally Dickson scored a free kick for a third. They made it 3-2 but we got through, we had a bad day at the office but we’ll take the win.

“The back end of October was always going to be very good or very bad for us, we beat Tempest United in the Richardson Cup a couple of weeks ago, and we’re hoping these two cup wins will have the same effect as they did last year when beating Daten and Euxton really kick-started our season.

“We won’t be relaxing at all, we’ve been saying to the lads they can’t rest on their laurels. We’ve been telling them: ‘don’t be happy with what we have achieved because good teams win the odd cup but great teams win lots’.”

Tempest United also negotiated their Lancashire FA Shield first-round tie, beating Daten 4-3 on the road.

But CMB were knocked out as they lost 1-0 at Poulton.

In West Lancashire League President’s Cup action, Eagley took a much-needed win in their tie at Croston Sports.

The Eagles prop up Division One at present but, thanks to a Jacob Greenhalgh hat-trick and further goals from Dan Holyard, Dylan Hollis and Jordan Hibert, they ran out 6-3 winners.

Stoneclough exited the cup in emphatic fashion, however, as they suffered a 6-0 loss at Millom.

Derbies in the Manchester League resulted in wins for Atherton Town and Bolton United.

Atherton were victorious in a Division One match at Bolton Lads and Girls Club, with Jordan Lloyd and Gareth Shaw netting in a 2-0 win. In Division Two, Bolton United beat Astley and Tyldesley 4-1, thanks to goals by Shakil Abdullah, Ethzaz Hussien, Ayaz Khan and Oladepo Muiz Ali.

There were heavy defeats for the two local sides in the North West Counties League First Division North.

Peter Lancaster, Jacob Ridings and Joe Mullarkey scored for Daisy Hill in their game at home to AFC Blackpool but six goals for the visitors saw them go home with the three points.

Atherton LR suffered at the hands of their hosts Runcorn Town, who ran out 5-0 winners.