AS statements of intent go, Old Boltonians’ challenge to the rest of the league would take some beating.

After grabbing top spot in the Premier Division with a 3-1 win at Failsworth Dynamos in their previous game, Steve Eccleshare’s side added an exclamation point on Saturday with a 10-1 thrashing of their hosts Valley United.

The victory puts Old Bolts four points clear of nearest challengers Failsworth – with significantly better goal difference – but Eccleshare will hold off on any celebrations with much more than half a season still to go.

“Things are going well for us at the moment,” he said. “They’re starting to stack up so we just need to build a bit of momentum now and string some results together.

“It’s been a great effort right through the club because we get great support from Stuart Williams, our reserve-team manager. His team are doing well too, they’re second in Division Two. He’s doing a great job and understands our mentality. He’s had a few first-team players join his squad and he accommodates very well, he’s been a massive support to the first team.

“So we know we have the right guys around us and the players have the right attitude as well, they don’t sulk if they’re not playing, they support those that are in the team.

“They’re a great bunch and I’m happy with how they’re going.

“Being top of the table is okay but it means nothing yet, we know we have to keep going because there are going to be so much to-ing and fro-ing happening before the end of the season, this is such a good, healthy league, but if we keep doing our jobs, playing well week in, week out, that’s half the battle won.”

Saturday’s big win in Accrington saw hat-tricks for Matt McClellan and Leon Farrimond – the former hitting the goal of the game, a beautifully-weighted lob over the keeper after shaping to send in a cross – after Rob Taylor had scored the game’s opener with just 67 seconds played, adding another later on.

Lucas Gaynor and Tom Allcroft each netted a goal as Old Bolts sent out a message to the rest of the top flight, reaching double figures and scoring their hosts’ only goal for good measure when John Townsend headed a whipped-in corner into his own net.

After such a high-quality performance from his team, Eccleshare admits it was nigh-on impossible to select a man-of-the-match winner, while also paying tribute to Valley United, who he says are far better than the result indicates and just came across his side in ruthless mood.

Eccleshare, whose role as the inter-league team’s manager was taking him to a match against the Liverpool County Premier League last night, has selected three of his own players. Farrimond was to captain the team on Merseyside with Nathan Collier and Matty Hamnett also featuring.

And, at the end of Valley United’s beating, the Bolts boss approached their dangerous striker Izak Wilde, inviting him to represent the LAL.

“It was 2-0 with about 20 minutes gone against Valley,” he told The Bolton News. “And they were well in the game, they’re a strong, well-drilled team and I don’t have a bad word to say about them.

“There’s no way I could pick a man-of-the-match but I did give a special mention to our goalkeeper, Matty Hamnett. He pulled off a few really important point-blank saves that were important ones and set us up for the win.

“We were ruthless because, at 9-1 the last thing I want is to see a team finishing lethargically, that attitude can carry over into the next match, so I was shouting them on to go and get more because I want us to build momentum for the next game. Going to Burnley Belvedere will be tough and we know all our hard work, in the last couple of games especially, will have been for nothing if we don’t do our job in the next match.”

Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Bolton Wyresdale were beaten 3-0 at Old Mancunians.

Horwich RMI moved into eighth place in Division One with a 1-0 win at home to Little Lever Reserves, sitting above in inactive Blackrod Town on goal difference.

In the North West Counties League First Division North, Daisy Hill led 2-1 at leaders Emley but eventually fell to a 4-2 defeat.

Jacob Ridings scored in the first half which ended level at 1-1 and Jake O’Brien’s penalty put the Daisies 2-1 up within the first minute of the second half. But a second-half hat-trick from Sam Agar, who had also scored Emley’s first goal, saw them to victory.

In the Manchester League Division Two, Breightmet United made it back-to-back wins as they beat hosts Astley and Tyldesley 2-1 with Gary McShane and Neil Thompson on target.

Bolton United also collected three points as they beat Irlam Steel 4-1. United are second in the table but leaders Avro Reserves have four games in hand.

In Division One, Bolton Lads and Girls Club suffered a 4-0 defeat at Elton Vale.

Divisional rivals Atherton Town were in Lancashire FA Amateur Shield action, and they progressed to the quarter-finals with a 3-2 win at home to Blackpool Wren Rovers of the West Lancashire League Premier Division. Jordan Lloyd, Connor Critch and Leon Berrisford were the scorers for Atherton, who go to Euxton Villa in the quarter-finals next month.

In the West Lancashire League Premier Division, CMB enjoyed a 2-1 win against visitors Vickerstown, with goals from Dan Crook and Charlie Scholes, while Stoneclough are up to second in the Division One table after their 4-1 win at home to Kendal County.

Mark Truffas netted twice, one from the penalty spot, with Jay Mannion and Adam Lucas also contributing.