AFTER grinding out a narrow win in the wind and rain Steve Eccleshare says Old Boltonians are far from home and dry in the title race.

Their 1-0 win came against Burnley Belvedere in a home fixture switched to Darwen’s artificial surface.

The victory, courtesy of Rob Taylor’s early strike, saw Old Bolts extend their lead at the top of the Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division,

But their manager says there are sure to be many twists and turns as the season draws to an end.

“We’ve got seven games left and Whitworth Valley have 11,” said Eccleshare, whose side are 10 points ahead of third-placed Valley.

“If we could win all seven we’d probably take the title, and we’d deserve it, but if Whitworth go out and win all 11 they’ll win the title and deserve to have it.

“But everyone can be expected to drop a couple of games, the standard in the league this year means teams are taking points off each other all over the show.

“There’s no runaway leader and a lot of good teams. But I’d take where we are now with marks on the board. If other teams can use their games in hand to overtake us then fair play to them.

“Saturday was tough, gale-force winds blew us all over the show, the rain made it unpleasant but it was goo to get a game on and get a win.

“It wasn’t a classic, after Rob got the goal in the first five minutes both teams were just battling the conditions.”

Eccleshare is facing a few tricky selection problems in the coming weeks, but it is a nice problem to have, with a number of players returning from injury.

Lucas Gaynor has been missing for the last three matches but is expected to be available to face Chaddertonians this Saturday. James Edmondson, Nick Holt and Lee Worswick are also returning to fitness after their various lay-offs.

All of which could make the difference as Old Bolts look to throw down the gauntlet to the sides hoping to overhaul them.

“We have a few coming back,” added Eccleshare. “The lads have got a few bumps and bruises so to have these players returning is great for us. We’ve got good teams still to play before the end of the season but if we can keep playing, keep our momentum and we’ll see what others can do after that.

“We’ve dropped a few points in the last few games but Prestwich, Mostonians and Valley United are good teams. Prestwich are 12th so people will look at them beating us and say we should never be losing that but they defended really well and earned it with the only goal of the game.

“Teams always raise their game when they play the team at the top.

“Teams will come strong and some teams will falter so it’s tough but it’s exciting.”

Elsewhere, as the weather put paid to most of the Lancashire Amateur League schedule, Blackrod Town saw action in Division One but probably wished they hadn’t as they fell to a 6-1 defeat at Little Lever’s reserves.

In the day’s only game to go ahead in Division One of the Manchester League, Bolton Lads and Girls Club fell to a 5-3 defeat at home to Middleton Colts.

With no Division Two games played, Bolton United remain top of the table, but they exited the Murray Trophy on Saturday with a 4-2 defeat to visitors Wythenshawe Amateurs reserves.

Atherton LR’s North West Counties League First Division North fixture at Ashton Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and the top three divisions in the West Lancashire League also saw no action.

Atherton Collieries’ BetVictor Premier Division match at FC United fell foul of the weather too.

Colls were also scheduled to take on Lancaster City in the semi-finals of the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy at Leyland tonight but that has been called off.