Hurst Green 4
Bolton County 0
Hurst Green entertained Bolton County hoping to get the new year off to a winning start after a disappointing end to 2014. The fortunes of the two sides couldn’t have been more different going into this fixture - the Bolton outfit having suffered a torrid first half of the season had won their last two games whilst the home side had suffered two consecutive reversals.
Opening exchanges were even with the visitors looking good in possession but it was the home side who took the lead on 10 minutes after Stead superbly headed home. The Green began to get on top but the visitors’ keeper was in fine form and thwarted Coar on two occasions. Bolton carved out some half chances and showed why they appear to have turned a corner in their battle against relegation, but Stead slotted home his second goal after a pass from fellow strike partner Coar. H.T 2-0.
The second half began with the visitors again having plenty of possession and the Green back four had to be on their toes. After 55 minutes the visitors’ centre half had to leave the field with a nasty cut to the ankle and this seemed to have an unsettling effect on the away side.
Howarth and Byrne took control of the central midfield and from a superb Stead through ball Coar outmuscled the centre half, rounded the keeper and slotted home.
Soon afterwards is was 4-0 as substitute Nolan reached the byline and crossed for debutant Wilkinson who unselfishly laid the ball back for Coar to make it 4-0.
The away side continued to play good football and Bee had to make a fine save from a looping effort.
A healthy crowd with a good sized contingent having travelled from Bolton were treated to an entertaining game. The villagers looked solid with the return of the talismanic Bartlett a major plus, whilst Brierley and Jackson linked up well down the right hand side. Bolton were a young side but showed plenty of endeavour and no little skill and with more performances like this should soon start to climb the table.
This was a welcome three points for the Smithy Row outfit and with all the top five sides winning it’s very much ‘as you were’.