Bolton County 2
Hurst Green 2
Goals from Paul Coote and substitute Derek McCarthy gave Hurst Green the point they required to clinch the West Lancashire Football League Division 2 title as they overcame runners up Bolton County in a tetchy affair.
Postponements meant the two sides, who had already secured promotion, played the last game of the season in a winner-takes-all scenario.
The gusty conditions somewhat ruined the game as a spectacle with clearances skewed, passes missing their target and shots flying over.
But Green could have opened the scoring as early as the first minute but a flowing move down the right couldn’t be finished as a goalmouth scramble ensued and County cleared.
County had a goal ruled out for offside and the dangerous Coote had a shot go narrowly wide. That was a sign that County should’ve paid more attention to, as the marksman opened the scoring on 14 minutes with a carbon copy shot that this time evaded the outstretched hand of the keeper.
Green hit the crossbar also via an overhit cross. County, playing against the wind, looked to play in their pacy right winger Strickland who tested rookie Aspinwall. It was Strickland who created County’s equaliser as his cross was parried by Chester, leaving Paul Holden to tap into the empty net.
As the game wore on, tempers became frayed with the referee having to step in on a couple of occasions.
The all-important second goal came with 15 minutes to go as an Enefer header could only be parried straight to McCarthy who managed to slot home.
The game eventually boiled over minutes later as Bartlett and the County centre forward were both red carded following a spat and the home side scored almost straight from the resulting free kick as Strickland was released and his perfectly weighted lob found the net leaving Chester helpless.
With five minutes of normal time to play and five additional minutes added on County threw everything at the visitors, even pushing their keeper up for a plethora of corners and long throws. However Green hung on for a momentous victory.
The club would like to thank its loyal supporters, and The Bayley Arms for sponsoring the team coach throughout the season.
Team: Chester; Aspinwall, Bamber, Bartlett, Brierley; Hayes (McCarthy), Cookson (Enefer) Haworth, Scott (Sargeson); Walker, Coote.