OLD Boltonians heaped more misery on Howe Bridge Mills as they stretched their lead at the top of the Premier Division to 10 points.

Free-scoring Old Bolts won 5-1 against a team with a goal difference of minus 45 as they took advantage of their nearest challengers Rossendale not being in action.

Sean Rushton opened the scoring, somehow firing in an indirect free kick and getting a required deflection in a packed penalty box.

Rob Taylor turned in their second goal to make it 2-0 at half time.

After Matt McLellan scored a third in the second half, Howe Bridge pulled one back but a superb volley from Rob Davies restored the three-goal cushion.

Rushton, who had earlier seen a penalty saved, rounded off a fine win with the final goal with the last kick of the match.

And manager Steve Eccleshare is targeting a ton of goals as they look to march on towards the title before the weather begins to play havoc with the fixtures.

“It was a good game on Saturday, pretty much what we expected,” said Eccleshare, who switched the game to a 3G artificial pitch to ensure they could see some action against one of the division’s strugglers.

“We’ll just keep getting through the games and try to make that gap as wide as we can while we can get the games on.

“It was a bit tricky with Howe Bridge, we beat them earlier in the season but they’re a lot stronger now, they’ve obviously brought in some good players, they beat Blackrod last week too. It wasn’t a straightforward win anyway.

“That said, we did have a penalty saved and hit the post three or four times, so we beat a team that is going in the right direction.”

As for his own team’s chances, Old Bolts are now 10 points ahead of Rossendale, although they could narrow that gap to one should they win their three games in hand. Eccleshare’s men are also 20 goals better off should goal difference come into play, an advantage he is keen to hammer home in their bid to recapture the LAL title.

“Our aim is to get 100 goals in a season, it always is,” he said. “I get some dirty looks when we’re three up and I’m urging them on to put in that bit more effort and go for more goals. If you score 100 goals you win leagues though, that’s my view, we’ll certainly be there or thereabouts if we do that anyway.

“Hopefully we can beat Prestwich on Saturday and go into Christmas unbeaten and in a very decent position, we’ve done all right with the weather but if we get two more in before we have to have a break we’ve done well.”

Elsewhere, Blackrod Town bounced back from their defeat to Howe Bridge by beating Prestwich 4-0.

n In the West Lancashire League Premier Division, Turton were 2-0 winners at Coppull United while Tempest United were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Slyne With Hest, Chris Farnworth and Nathan Monson scoring.

In Division One, Stoneclough took a point from their trip to Fulwood Amateurs Reserves, in a 2-2 draw.

Despite two goals from Jon Stevenson and one from player-manager Simon Whaley, Eagley were defeated 4-3 at leaders Poulton.

CMB’s match at home to Lytham Town, and Ladybridge’s Division Two fixture at Croston Sports, were both postponed.