THEY won few points for style on Saturday, but Turton refuse to let their grip on the Lancashire FA Amateur Shield slide without a fight.

The holders battled to a place in the quarter-finals by virtue of a last-ditch equaliser at Haslingden St Mary’s and victory in the resulting penalty shoot-out.

And manager Craig Jones admits it may not have been easy on the eye, but reaching the last eight was their only objective in sodden conditions underfoot.

“It was potentially the worst pitch I’ve ever sent a team out on to,” he said. “The game had been cancelled before and if it had been postponed again they’d have had to switch it to ours this weekend so they were keen to play it at their place.

“It was horrendous, you were up to your ankles in water. It looked okay but you had no standing foot when you went to kick the ball.

“It didn’t make for a game for the purists, the pitch was a real leveller for them. We had to adapt to the conditions and we did – just.”

Despite Sam Rigby’s opening goal and what Jones described as a “25-yard worldie” from Kieran Sissons, the Tigers had been on their way out of the competition they won last season, trailing 3-2 with moments to go. But centre-back Jordan Lomax, part of a last-ditch all-out assault on the Haslingden goal, forced in his side’s third goal to send it to a shoot-out.

Jones says there are few keepers in the area better at facing spot-kicks than his number one, Josh McGreavy, and so it proved as they won 3-1 to set up a match against FC St Helens on December 7.

“As always, when we have Josh in goal we fancy our chances and all our takers had to do was concentrate on scoring because we knew he’d save at least one.

“We seem to have this thing where we’re not at our best until our backs are against the wall and we only come to life when we have to do something, Jordan’s goal was a real rough-and-tumble affair.

“It doesn’t make for an easy life for me – when we won the Shield last year we scored in about the 26th minute and held out for the rest of the game, despite them [Thornton Cleveleys] throwing the kitchen sink at us.

“Resilience-wise, there’s no better group of players around. I just wish we could have an easy 3-0 or 4-0 win sometime.”

Before Turton can look forward to their quarter-final early next month they must turn their attention back to the West Lancashire Premier and making up ground on the leaders.

Tenth in the table, they have work to do but, having only played nine league games, they have the potential to overtake Hurst Green with the five matches they have in hand on the leaders.

“The bonus is that if we can get those points on the board there’s a good chance we’ll be in the mix,” Jones told The Bolton News. “We’ll look forward to the Shield match on December 7 but we have to lay down some markers in the league before that. If someone had said to me in summer we would be scrapping on a few different fronts come December I’d have taken that.

“The cup competitions are great and everybody is hungry for them but as I’ve said to them, if they’re not more hungry than last season then our dressing room isn’t the place for them.

“We did it last year but now we want to do it again and to do that we have to be hungrier.

“St Helens are in the Second Division of the Cheshire League but they’re a newly-formed team from St Helens Town and they’re full of North West Counties League-standard players so it’s not an easy game.

“I’ve spoken to a few people I know over there and they said they’re a very good side so we’ve got a job on our hands. They’re in the Second Division but that’s a false position really because they’re so new.

Another West Lancashire League team in cup action was Horwich St Mary’s Victoria, who won 3-1 at Milnthorpe Corinthians in a President’s Cup tie.

Joby Patel opened the scoring for Horwich and with Sam Parkinson netting twice they booked their place in the second round of the competition.

In the Premier Division, CMB also enjoyed a trip to Cumbria, returning home from Whitehaven after a 3-2 victory. Scott McNair and Matt Chapman had found the net for Rob Pennington’s side, who looked like bringing home just a point. But Brad Yeats netted in the 93rd minute to snatch victory for CMB.

Tempest United’s away trip saw them defeated 2-1 at Slyne With Hest, Jordan Coop netting their goal.

In Division One, Eagley’s resurgence continued with a 2-0 win at home to Millom, with Alex Senior and Steve Bancroft on target. Meanwhile, Stoneclough moved up to second in the table with a 2-1 victory over Crooklands Casuals, Stewart Schofield and Jon Stephenson grabbing the goals.

In the North West Counties First Division North Atherton LR were 3-2 winners at AFC Blackpool, a result that saw them climb above their hosts and into ninth place.

Daisy Hill’s run of poor form continued with two defeats at New Sirs in three days. The Daisies conceded an 88th-minute winner in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at home to Nelson. Jamie Ramwell and Jacob Ridings had scored to see Daisy Hill go from a goal down to 2-1 ahead in the second half. But after Nelson levelled with 20 minutes to go they went one better with the winner late on.

Two days later Daisy hosted Lower Breck and suffered a 6-0 defeat, five of those goals coming before half time.

In the Manchester League Premier Division, Bolton County beat Heywood St James 3-1 with Matthew Ormrod, Matthew Leatham and Jordan McLoughlin scoring.

Two local teams in Division One also won, with Bolton Lads and Girls Club winning 3-1 at Uppermill, thanks to Craig Bingham’s hat-trick, and Atherton Town’s George Bowers scored the only goal of their game at Govan Athletic.

In Division Two, Bolton United lost 2-0 at Monton.

There were heavy defeats for Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division sides Thornleigh and Little Lever.

Following the resignation of manager Arron McCarthy last week, bottom-of-the-table Thornleigh were defeated 5-2 at Failsworth Dynamos.

Little Lever, who sit one place above them were on the wrong end of a 7-3 defeat at home to Whitworth Valley.

Horwich RMI also shipped seven goals in a defeat at Bury GSOB. Horwich led 2-0, having been gifted own goals by Bury defenders, but then let in seven without reply. Blackrod Town did enjoy success, however, as they beat Little Lever’s reserve team 3-1.