Rimington stretch lead at the top

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RIMINGTON extended their lead at the top of the East Lancashire League thanks to a workmanlike win at relegation-threatened Rock, added to Mill Hill’s defeat to Enfield.

The game started slowly, the visitors looking lethargic and the home side almost broke through early on, but the striker’s touch let him down and the ball trickled through to Kershaw.

Lloyd had the first chance of the match but he saw his goalbound header cleared off the line.

Kershaw was called into action in the 18th minute, diving low to his right to make his only real save of the game.

Meanwhile, at the other end, the keeper was kept busy, even though the champions were well below par, Lloyd volleying wide midway through the half, and firing over after Dinsdale had headed down a Sargeson corner.

Lloyd then turned in the box only to drag his effort wide. McTear should have opened the scoring on 36 minutes as he was sent through on goal only to chip over the bar.

The keeper then made the save of the match, Heslop’s excellent cross finding Lloyd, whose bullet header was somehow kept out at point-blank range.

Just before half-time he maintained his clean sheet as he tipped round the post another Lloyd shot.

The champions began the second half in much better fashion, Lloyd volleying wide, followed by Sargeson seeing his effort tipped around a post.

From the resulting corner, McTear rose, but saw his header loop over.

Rimington were now dominant, with Kershaw a cold spectator, and they finally broke the deadlock on 55 minutes, Lloyd racing clear of the defence to latch on to Walmsley’s pass to beat the keeper.

McLean switched to the right as Rakshi entered the fray, and he crossed for Lloyd to slide in, only to see the ball squirt over the bar.

Just after the hour Rakshi was sent through, and his shot was parried but McLean followed up, took a touch and hit the post with the goal at his mercy.

A minute later Lloyd played the ball to Sargeson, whose drive clipped the outside of the post, and minutes later the skipper fired a left-foot shot wide.

In the last 15 minutes Walmsley’s clever pass released Lloyd, who scored only to see it ruled out for offside.

Rakshi should have scored next, Sargeson and Lloyd combining to send him clear, but he steered his shot wide with the keeper beaten.

Fagan, McLean and Walsh combined, only for the latter’s shot to be blocked by a defender, and Walmsley followed up but his shot was also blocked.

With just seven minutes remaining, Sargeson produced a delightful cross-field pass to McLean, who showed his power to race down the right and pull the ball square for Rakshi to make it 2-0.

Penman came on for the last five minutes, and the veteran striker made it 3-0 in the last minute, as Rakshi’s attempt to round the keeper was foiled, only for the big man to calmly slot home.

Terry Braithwaite said: “We seem to start slowly and it’s a good job we are defending well as we are not being punished. It is something we need to address quickly as we have some huge games coming up.”