Clifton Rangers made it three wins out of four in the premier division of the Poulton and District Primary League’s Under-14 competiton, but not without a scare .
Having taken a 4-0 lead against BJFF Viper Whites at St Mary’s School, they saw the visitors close the gap to a single goal and come close to a late equaliser.
Clifton were bright and busy from the start as Ben Wilmott scored the first two goals.
Wilmott played on the left side of a threatening front three, finishing both goals well at the back post.
Oliver Shaw found the net too to make it 3-0 at half-time and leave his side firmly in the driving seat.
The fourth was a fine 20-yard strike by Will Salanki, which flew over the keeper despite him getting a hand to it.
Clifton looked in total control after the fourth, but the dynamic of the game changed as never-say-die BJ hit back strongly.
The fightback began midway through the second half, when Nathan Winstanley fired home from 20 yards from Marcus Jolley’s through-ball.
The second was even better, a fine run from halfway by Bradley Frankel followed by an unstoppable shot from over 30 yards.
And there was some serious nailbiting going on in the Clifton ranks when Mackenzie Maruszak-Webster seized on a rebounded shot to fire home BJ’s third.
With a couple of moments still remaining, BJ pressed forward for an equaliser and their man of the match Frankel let fly from a similar range to his earlier goal.
The keeper could only parry the shot and had a BJFF player been following up the game could have ended all square.
The outstanding player for Rangers was centre-half Harvey Orwin, whose distribution was superb. He also showed great desire to compete and be a leader in defence.
Despite the nervy finale, the win continued a pleasing start for Rangers boss Paul Salanki.
He said: “We were going really well but BJ came back strongly in the second half and pushed us all the way.
“We have won three out of four in the league and are still in the Lancashire FA Cup (they face Cumbrian side Hawcoat next). We have expectations and are looking forward to a good season.”
With two wins from their opening six, the Vipers are hopeful of retaining their premier division status when the league splits at Christmas.
Manager Mark Frankel said of the match: “They took their goals clinically. We paid for our mistakes at the back but I was pleased with the way we fought back.”