Ric Coar scored a hat-trick as Garstang were 5-0 winners at Atherton LR on Saturday.
After a slow start, Garstang got into their stride against an Atherton side struggling at the bottom of the league but with an enthusiastic team working behind the scenes to turn the club’s fortunes around.
They had their first chance on eight minutes when Jonny Hothersall got free on the left before pulling the ball back to Billy McKenna, whose miscued shot was easily cleared off the line.
A few minutes later, Coar twisted and turned in the box and his left-footed shot came back off the inside of the post and bounced clear.
As the ball came back in, Coar found himself unmarked six yards out but his shot squirmed off the keeper and was again scrambled away.
Then, when Hothersall’s 20-yarder hit the outside of the post, the Garstang faithful was beginning to wonder if it would be one of those days.
The breakthrough came on 24 minutes when Dan Birch and Shaun Sailor combined before the former was brought down for a free-kick.
Skipper Tom Entwisle stepped up and his free-kick was glanced into the net via the head of Kieran O’Connor.
Six minutes later, the same combination of Birch and Sailor played in Coar and, this time, he made no mistake from 10 yards.
Birch and Sailor caused major problems down the right side and Coar was inches away from adding Garstang’s third goal from a Birch cross.
Atherton’s first real chance came on 40 minutes but Will Kitchen made an excellent fingertip save.
Garstang came back as Phil Nagy’s run and shot brought a great save from the Atherton keeper.
Atherton’s relief was shortlived as Hothersall received the resulting corner and his cross drifted over the keeper into the far corner to give Garstang a 3-0 half-time lead.
Atherton began the second half on the front foot and pressed forward but without creating any clear-cut chances.
The Riversiders saw Jack Bennett replaced by Tom Graham after suffering with back spasms but the fresh legs in the middle brought back a modicum of control.
On 63 minutes, the game was put to bed when Nagy played a ball over the top and Coar scored his second with an exquisite lob over the advancing keeper.
Cam Ross, who had another solid game at centre-back, picked up a yellow for a late challenge but the icing on the cake came five minutes from time.
Entwisle, who had orchestrated the midfield throughout the game, played in McKenna and his cross was tapped in by Coar to complete his hat-trick.