GREAT PRESTON boss Ian Hill believes goal difference could decide the Division Two promotion race – leaving the Berry Lane boss especially pleased with Saturday’s 15-1 romp at folfolding Rothwell Town.
Preston approached the fixture on the back of a 4-1 loss at home to Mount St Mary’s but ran riot with a Callum Harrison four-timer and Tom Davis hat-trick supported by braces from Arron Flint, Kieron Jarrett and Tom Wardle plus strikes from Anthony Dickinson and Alastair Firth.
In their final game before folding, Rothwell’s consolation was bagged by David Leadbitter but the hosts were 7-0 down at the break as the landslide victory moved third-placed Preston a point off second and three points off top spot. Hill is now hoping his side’s progress does not end there.
Hill reasoned: “Goal difference in our division could be a key factor at the end of the season it could be the difference between going up or staying to fight another season in Division Two. Obviously scoring 15 goals in one game is a massive help but you don’t want to go into the next match and cancel it out so it’s about moving forward now because you’re only as good as your last game. Providing we stick together as a team, play with our hearts on our sleeves and give the best performances we can for the remainder of the season, I don’t see why promotion isn’t possible.
“The aims we have now are a little different from the start of the season because now we believe that we are capable and the thought of promotion is what drives you forward.”
Not that Hill expects 15-1 victories every week. The manager added: “To go there and completely dominate a game for 90 minutes was a very satisfying achievement as a manager.
“The lads seamed to grow with more confidence as the game went on and now there is a massive belief among the squad that promotion is achievable this year. But I wouldn’t like to think there was any pressure on me or the players though to put a goal scoring run like Saturday’s game in every week as long as we get the right result which is the three points.
“It’s a long hard season especially this time of the year with the weather forecasts it can throw up some surprisingly odd results so it would be an achievement to carry forward Saturday’s performance into the upcoming week.”
Preston welcome Rothwell FC Reserves in the County Trophy this weekend when Division Two leaders Hall Green United could five move points clear with victory at Ossett Albion. But Green must bounce back from Saturday’s 3-2 loss at sixth-placed Howden Clough, achieved through Daniel Broadbent’s brace and Neil Griffiths strike against goals from Clifton Firth and Mathew Marsden.Second-placed Huddersfield Amateur enjoyed a 4-0 win at Garforth Rangers with goals from Chris Dennison, Jacob Driver, Mathew Parker and Jacob Travis.Kellingley Welfare sit fourth after a 5-1 triumph at Middleton Park in which Kevin Duckworth was at the double while Altofts are fifth after a 4-1 win at home to Ossett Common Rovers. Seventh-placed Swillington Saints also beat fourth-bottom visitors Ossett Albion 4-3 with Thomas Day, Danny Waite and Jamie Claughton among the goals against away strikes from Patrick Hoyle, Yonatan Abidara and Ben Grech-Brooksbank.
BEESTON ST Anthony’s cashed in on a door left ajar in the Premier as Saturday’s 6-0 demolition of visiting Otley Town sent them top of the pile.
Former leaders Field and second-placed Carlton Athletic were both on League Cup duty and Beeston moved a point clear of Field thanks to a brace from Stephen Crawford plus goals from Sean Jeavons, Joe Rossiter, Lee Turnbull and Connor Charlton.
Field eased to a 4-1 win at Ikley Town in their League Cup tie while Carlton blitzed visiting Ripon City 5-0 with goals from Reece Fennell, Adam Fowler, Matthew Jackson, Joseph O’Neill and Andrew Payne. Back in the Premier, relegation-battling Robin Hood Athletic beat visiting Oxenhope Recreation 2-1 thanks to a James Finlayson brace in the face of a Michael Garnett strike but Athletic stayed second bottom after third-bottom Wyke Wanderers also obliged 5-2 at Hunslet Club. Ben Bodle’s hat-trick accompanied goals from Karl Fawcett and Ian Horrocks for triumphant Wyke.
Shelley also rose to 11th with a 3-2 verdict at home to sixth-placed Pool for whom goals from Billy Drake and Thomas Fleming were in vain.
Division One leaders Stanley United were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Aberford Albion with Stanley netting through Jimmy Greenhough, Adam Hayton and Kieran Wright.
Second-placed East End Park failed to take advantage as they were felled 2-0 at Whitkirk Wanderers who moved fourth with strikes from Stephen Copley and Adam Wood.Hartshead blitzed basement visitors Thornhill 5-2 as Jon Jo Keogh and Owan Asquith both hit braces while Sherburn White Rose moved ninth with a 3-2 success at home to Leeds Mods.
Boroughbridge and Old Centralians battled out a goalless draw while Featherstone Colliery won 5-2 at home to Kippax.