In the Baines Bagguley Penhale North Lancashire Football League Premier Division, Carnforth Rangers and Caton United both had comfortable wins against tough opposition.
Leaders Carnforth Rangers travelled to play Morecambe Royals and after a hard fought and often ill tempered opening, which saw one player sent off and several cautioned, they took a 2-0 lead.
The first goal after 35 minutes went the way of Carnforth in a scramble and finally netted by Daniel Syson. The second, scored three minutes later, was after Carnforth played some good football resulting in Damien Murphy finishing.
The second half started with the Royals missing a great early chance to reduce the arrears.
The game continued to be a feisty affair with Carnforth adding four more goals scored by Syson with his second, Murphy also his second, Phil Meeks and James Rafferty.
The consolation goal for the Royals was scored by Dan Broadley to make the final score 6-1.
Carnforth, who are looking odds on favourites to win the Premier League, remain eight points above second placed Caton United and a massive thirteen above third placed Cartmel.
Caton United started their game against fourth placed College AFC in a brilliant fashion when within 15 minutes they opened up a 3-0 lead after Steve Oliver with two and Nathan Jackson had shaken the College side.
College did not lie down but kept on trying to play the kind of football they are capable of and it paid off when first Tim Fletcher beat the home defenders, this was followed shortly after when defender Carl Manning scored a rare goal to reduce the arrears to 3-2.
College started the second half well but could not make the breakthough to equalise.
Further goals from Christian Sawicki (2) and Adam Lund sealed a good 6-2 win for second placed Caton who have now opened up a five point gap over third placed Cartmel.
Last season’s runners-up Galgate, after a poor start to the season, are at last climbing the table after winning their last four games. The recent 1-0 win over fourth from bottom Swarthmoor Social Club was hard earned but deserved.
Galgate had the better of the first half but had to be cautious whenever Swarthmoor attacked.
The first half ended in stalemate as neither side could find the net.
The second was just two minutes old when Galgate took the lead when they were awarded a free kick wide of the penalty area.
Nathan Bindless took the kick and his brilliant curling shot beat the keeper as it flew into the net.
Galgate had more of the possession but wasted chance after chance, Craig Cottam headed against the bar twice, Steven Stirzaker headed wide all from good positions. Swarthmoor never gave up and with more luck could have snatched a draw near the end.
Marsh United, sitting at the bottom without a win so far this season, played really against Ingleton, but luck was not on their side.
They concede a goal, scored by Gary China, when the defence was out of position.
Ingleton made it hard for Marsh with some excellent defending and some quick breakaways but hardly looked like adding to their score.
Marsh thought they had earned a draw when deep into injury/stoppage time they had the ball in Ingleton’s net, only for the effort to be ruled out for an infringement.
Trimpell entertained a Highgrove side that are going through a transitional period and had a poor start to the season.
Trimpell soon gained the upper-hand and went into a 2-0 lead with both goals being scored by Jamie McMeeking. Highgrove rallied and pressed forward more and started to make inroads into Trimpell’s lead when first Scott King made it 2-1, then Luke Bradley equalised before Nathan Winder found the winner in a highly entertaining and competitive game in a dramatic finale.
In Division One, Arnside kept alive their chance of going straight back up when they just overcame an inconsistent Bolton-le-Sands 3-1.
The goals were scored by the dynamic duo of James Thornton who scored twice, James Kirkham scored the other. Young Daniel Dixon scored a great goal for his side but it wasn’t enough.
Heysham moved to within one point of leaders Moor Lane after winning a hard fought game against Carnforth Rangers Reserves.
Only two pieces of brilliant football from Heysham broke through the Carnforth defence, Kevin Jago and Steve McMinn scored the goals to keep Heysham thirteen points ahead of Kirkby Lonsdale.
Millhead won the mid-table battle when they beat Westgate Wanderers in a thrilling end to end game which saw eight goals scored, penalty area thrills and spills, easy chances missed and ample good football played by two sides that wanted to play football.
The result could have gone either way but it was the Millhead side that came out on top after Brett Allen, Chris Cottam, David Cowperthwaite and a brace from Jamie Nicholls.
Westgate played their part in the game and also scored some great goals through Ryan Worrall with the goal of the game, Kevin Armistead and Paul Becks.
In the Division Two Whiteside Challenge Cup 1st Round, Boys’ Club gained ample revenge for a league defeat only two weeks ago by turning the tables on AFC Moorlands by beating them 4-2.
With just five minutes remaining the Moorlands side were leading 2-1 after Kevin Robinson and Joe Garnett had scored, Matthew McGowan who was switched to centre forward for this game scored for Boys’ Club.
It was McGowan who in the 85th minute scored a second and equalising goal for the Boys’ Club and within 90 seconds they took the lead when the dynamic McGowan completed a superb match winning hat-trick.
To make matters worse for the Moorlands side Stuart Leeming converted a penalty to make the final score 4-2 and a place in round two for Boys’ Club who will now be away to local rivals Marsh United Reserves.
Morecambe Royals Reserves took the trip to play Ingleton Reserves in what looked to be a tricky cup tie.
There was some good appraoch work by the Royals with Rob Elder supplying his forwards, who could not capitalise on his excellent passing.
Right winger Jamie Bradbury was the one person who did cause Ingleton a lot of problems for the whole of the game with his darting runs.
He went closest during a goal-less first half with a good header which was smartly saved by the Ingleton keeper, the other chance of note in the first half fell to Dan Mardell but his goal-bound shot was cleared off the line.
Towards the end of the first half Ingleton posed their biggest threat when they broke out of defence with pace but they in turn were thwarted by the excellence of Mark Malloy and Ryan Fawcett.
The first minute of the second half Royals’ Darren Briggs beat his marker before making a strong forceful cross to the far post where the ball was met by Jamie Bradbury who managed to bundle the ball over the line.
Ingleton responded to this setback brilliantly by going all out for a goal but they in turn were held up by the experienced Elder, aided by Mardell and substitute Aaron Cross.
With just five minutes remaining the Royals struck again, this time it was Steve Howley who cut in from the right and fired in an unstoppable shot with his left foot which the keeper could only help into the net, such was the force of the shot. In round two the Royals Reserves will be away to Trimpell Reserves.