Strikers star on Rimmington debuts

Seven was a lucky number for Rimington
Seven was a lucky number for Rimington

The reigning East Lancashire League champions turned on the style in the only game to be played at the weekend, with recent signings Gary Jackson and Dan Blackburn the stars of the show.

Thanks to the sterling efforts of groundsman, Phil Hodgson, this fixture went ahead, and the villagers attacked from the first minute.

Former Clitheroe striker Jackson, making his debut, was found by Tom Benfield in the fourth minute and he was only foiled thanks to a great save by the keeper at his near post.

The debutant didn’t have long to wait though, as Walmsley and Fagan played a one-two from a throw-in, and Jackson was on the edge of the area to meet the cross, the ball falling to him to thunder in a volley, a strike of true class, to make it 1-0.

Rimington were in the ascendancy, and in the 12th minute, Dinsdale won a header on the halfway line, before collecting the ball as it dropped, and dribbling forward to unleash a 30-yard bullet which screamed past the keeper for 2-0.

Jackson and Blackburn were both prevented from extending the lead thanks to some last-ditch defending, but Benfield released the latter and he calmly lobbed the advancing keeper to make it 3-0 on 18 minutes.

The visitors pulled one back however, Michael Cox, also on his debut, making a great tackle on the edge of the area, but the ball fell kindly for the forward to stroke the ball home.

Rimington continued to attack, Hickling given license to switch from one flank to the other, causing all sorts of problems for both full backs, and he had a hand in the fourth goal, linking with Jackson before crossing to the back post where Blackburn headed into the opposite corner.

Dinsdale almost added to his tally too, but, meeting a corner, he couldn’t manage to head on target.

Into the second half, the home side continued their attacks, Fagan seeing a free kick tipped over in the 47th minute, and Benfield heading over from a corner shortly after.

Jackson’s last involvement came in the 63rd as he crossed from the right to set up his strike partner Blackburn to volley in for his hat-trick, Jackson impressing after a long time out of the game, and young David Robinson came on, with Hickling moving up front.

Cox had also had a steady debut and he was replaced by Hartley at the back, whilst Rawcliffe came on for hat-trick hero Blackburn.

Stacksteads kept going and were rewarded by another breakaway goal to reduce the arrears at 5-2.

The champions weren’t finished yet though, and Hickling used the strong wind to his advantage, using his left foot from a corner to swing the ball straight in for 6-2, and he then added a second when he met a long ball to head over the keeper for 7-2.

Rimington kept pressing in search of more goals and were only denied by some excellent keeping and good defending.

Benfield, in a more advanced role, could possibly have made it 8-2 late on, but his audacious chip drifted wide.

Manager Terry Braithwaite was naturally very pleased with the win: “We played some great stuff despite the heavy pitch, credit to Phil for his hard work on it.

“I asked for a positive attitude, with pace off the ball, and the lads responded with a very attack-minded display.

“The two lads up front were brilliant, and will get even better when they settle into the side, but the team as a whole looked much more assured.

“Jon Penman is working hard with the squad as we prepare for the massive game at West Riding HQ on the 22nd. The title may be beyond us, perhaps, but we must keep winning to try to pressure the top two and see where it takes us.”

Saturday sees a trip to Colne, (2-15 p.m.).