Atherton LR 2 Cheadle Town 1

LABURNUM Rovers returned to winning ways with this hard-fought victory over Cheadle Town.

With injuries biting deep into the squad, this was a performance full of character by Ross McNair’s team against a determined Cheadle side.

Both teams created chances in the early exchanges as they both showed good movement and trickery up front, Mark Adams and Jon Stephenson influential for LR but Cheadle also testing the home defence, well-marshalled by Tom Darby and Jamie Forbes.

It was the hosts who made the breakthrough with an admitted stroke of good fortune, Stephenson’s low cross from the right catching the luckless Cheadle captain Ash Smallwood and looping high over the stricken keeper and in off the underside of the bar.

However Cheadle levelled with a route one goal, a free-kick for offside lofted to the edge of the box and although Andrew Farrimond was sharply off his line to parry the initial shot the ball ran kindly for Dean Nolan to enjoy a simple tap-in.

As the rain lashed down to open the second half Cheadle began brightly and appeared to be getting a grip on proceedings but somewhat against the run of play LR snatched what turned out to be the winning goal.

Awarded a free kick just outside the area, Ash Duckworth fired in a fine shot which goalkeeper Steve Piggott could only push up onto the bar and into the back of the net.

Boosted by this strike LR sought a killer third and enjoyed some good chances, Piggott making smart saves to deny Josh Melling and Stephenson, whilst Forbes at the other end proved a tower of strength with a tremendous defensive display, a crucial block on Nolan preventing the Cheadle striker from grabbing a second goal.

This weekend LR travel to Widnes.