West Lancs League Reserve Division Two
Hurst Green Reserves 5
Bolton County Reserves 1
The ever excellent Smithy Row pitch ensured that this was one of only a handful of West Lancs league fixtures to survive the weather.
The game started quietly, with both sides looking a little sluggish after the seasonal break.
However, Green started to move through the gears. On 16 minutes, Mort sent Foley through on goal, but the keeper managed to stretch out a fingertip to turn the ball over the bar.
From the resulting corner, Cattermole fired the ball in to the near post, allowing captain Bamber to glance the ball home off his shoulder.
Four minutes later, Green thought they had doubled their tally, when Olly Bolton lashed home another Cattermole corner, only for the referee to cancel the goal out, having seen a handball.
Whilst not firing on all cylinders, Green were commanding in possession, and continued to attack the County defence. On 32 minutes, Mort beat the offside, and despite a stumble in the box, managed to regain his footing, skipping past three defenders before sliding home.
The two-goal cushion perhaps caused Green to relax too much. With half time in sight, Young missed a clearance, and when Bamber slipped in the box, County took advantage and fired past Joyce.
Despite seeing their team dominate, co-managers Young and Holden were not satisfied with the performance, and demanded an improvement in the second half, and the team responded shortly after the restart.
A fizzing Foley strike was fumbled past the post by the keeper. Five minutes later, veteran forward Hayes rode several challenges in a mazy run into the box, allowing Mort to strike home off the post.
On 68 minutes, the County keeper flapped at a cross from Bywater, finding only Foley with his clearance, who finished confidently.
Foley had his second 5 minutes later. Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, a dummy threw the defender and his unstoppable strike left the ‘keeper with no chance.
Even at 5-1, Green continued to attack the beleaguered County defence. In the dying seconds, another Foley thunderbolt was merely parried to Barnes, but unfortunately his fierce strike cannoned off the post.
Without moving much beyond third gear, Green eased to an impressive victory, moving them to second in the table.
The on-looking management team from Longridge Town no doubt left with plenty to think about before next Saturday’s big derby, again at Smithy Row.
Hurst Green reserves: Joyce, Barnes, Young, Bamber, Bywater, McEwan, Foley, Bolton, Cattermole, Hayes, Mort. Subs: Davis, Wilkinson, Ward